Critically acclaimed author and activist Naomi Klein joins forces with Rebecca Stefoff, a prolific writer for children and teens, to inspire teen activism with the exhilarating new non-fiction book, How to Change Everything.
A call to action for those who have inherited this environmental mess, How to Change Everything confronts the stark realities of climate change and climate injustice. The book is a relevant deep dive into the science of greenhouse gas and the planet’s rising temperature, the history of the industrial revolution and society’s collective dependency on fossil fuels, and the reality of modern climate tragedies like melting polar ice and Australian wildfires.
This is not a light read. In covering Hurricane Katrina, Klein gives an unvarnished account of how the U.S. government neglected New Orleans’s Black community, and she shines a light on disaster capitalism in the cruel aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
The work of young activists helps to buoy the book with hopeful success stories. Sidebars showcase inspiring leaders like 25-year-old Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti and her Green Generation Initiative that plants thousands of trees in Kenya; 17-year-old Alice Brown Otter who petitioned to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline; and 16-year-old Autumn Peltier, who is the Anishinabek Nation chief water commissioner and a leading environmental activist. Greta Thunberg is prominently featured for her inspiring leadership.
Despite the Herculean task, Klein and Stefoff want readers to know they can make a difference with actions both big and small, encouraging them to become “grit in the gears” by asking more questions and starting with school projects or hobbies. They even offer a toolkit to “find a movement or start one.” The rallying cry here is to support the Green New Deal, a transformative plan that calls for zero carbon emissions and clean, renewable energy – pronto. Although it’s a U.S.-based policy proposal, Canadian readers will still get fired up to join the pact and make some political noise.
This book is a guide to ecological thought with prompts that question our complacency and consumerist mindset. In a few short years, teen readers will have a vote, and How to Change Everything is an urgent call for them to start agitating now.