Naomi Klein, the author of This Changes Everything, says we must make the leap between what is, and what must be.

“A great deal of the work of deep social change involves having debates during which new stories can be told to replace the ones that have failed us. Because if we are to have any hope of making the kind of civilizational leap required of this fateful decade, we will need to start believing, once again, that humanity is not hopelessly selfish and greedy—the image ceaselessly sold to us by everything from reality shows to neoclassical economics.” Naomi Klein

WHILE THE LEADERSHIP OF THE NEW ZEALAND Green Party continues to believe that the mechanisms of the market can be tinkered with to create a 'green capitalism', the North American environmental movement recognises that we must push beyond such a limiting and ultimately fruitless politics.

In Canada the Leap Manifesto calls for the radical restructuring of the Canadian economy, moving it beyond a reliance on fossil fuels. Launched in September last year, its architects include writer and activist Naomi Klein and her film maker husband Avi Lewis. It has been endorsed by over one hundred Canadian organisations and by such Canadian luminaries as Leonard Cohen and Donald Sutherland.

It has also been taken up by organisations in several other countries. So far, the New Zealand Green Party leadership has shown no interest in it. Instead of moving beyond the economic system that is effectively destroying the planet, the Green's are calling for a 'smart, green economy' -  so- called 'green capitalism'. The Green's are  increasingly out of touch with political developments elsewhere in the environmental movement.

In January five hundred activists met in Toronto to support the Leap Manifesto. At that meeting Klein stressed the need for a mass social movement addressing both the urgent need for climate action and an agenda for social justice.

The Leap Manifesto is a far reaching document that recognises that environmental justice must also encompass economic justice. Klein says it is 'unabashedly radical'.

Among other things, the manifesto calls for an urgent shift away from fossil fuels so that Canada gets 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable resources within 20 years and is entirely weaned off fossil fuels by 2050. To that end it calls for community ownership and control of energy sources instead of the energy sector  remaining in the hands of private companies whose sole motivation is private profit.

It also declares that the austerity policies of neoliberalism is a 'fossilised form of thinking that has become a threat to life on earth."

Klein says that we have the momentum to make such the leap and points to recent victories against the Keystone XL Pipeline, Shell's Arctic drilling and the widespread support for the political revolution of Bernie Sanders.

In stark contrast to the enthusiasm displayed by the New Zealand Green Party co-leader James Shaw for the recent Paris climate agreement, Klein observes that even the small measures agreed to by the conference are not binding on any of our 'political leaders'.

"Many of those politicians went home to hand out new drilling leases, new pipelines, and new highways," she says.

Last week Klein delivered the 2016 Edward W. Said lecture in London. She stressed that deteriorating environmental conditions combined with a failing economic system is creating a world in which nobody will escape the consequences of climate change.

"It is not about things getting hotter and wetter but things getting meaner and uglier, unless we change the corrosive values that are pitting people against each other,"


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