Capitalism vs. Climate – Fall 2015 Reading Group

Capitalism vs. Climate
A Reading Group centering around
Naomi Klein’s new book:
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate
Video trailer for the book:;
About the book:
Convened by Sandy Smith-Nonini, PhD*

 Schedule: A reading group meeting for 12 sessions this Fall on Mondays, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, beginning Sept. 7.  Limit: 12 participants. Location: EcoLounge room, Recyclique, 2811 Hillsborough Rd., Durham, NC 27705. Sponsored by CommunEcos, an educational non-profit. To sign up: email

Climate change is an existential issue: we all “know” and “don’t know” about it at the same time (and for good reasons). But it’s time to get real. These sessions will help get us up to snuff on the science and politics of climate in preparation for the UN climate summit in Paris this December, — our best shot to date to achieve a binding global agreement on climate, involving all nations. [US-Chinese negotiations have been closing the gap that has separated them in the past, so it might really happen this time.] Many scientists say it’s now or never, as we may be close to key tipping points in some ecological systems.

Topics will include the psychology of climate change (and how to deal with it), differing frameworks and paradigms on climate policy, the role of markets and governments, and different ways of pricing carbon. We will seek to think more clearly about complex systems involving energy, resources, human populations, capitalist economics, social movements and state power.

Text(s): There are electronic copies of readings available for anyone who cannot afford to buy the book. (avail. for under $17 for PB) In addition to significant portions of Klein’s book, we may read excerpts from (or refer to) some other sources, including:
• Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, by George Marshall 2014
• Climate Solutions: a Citizen’s Guide, by Peter Barnes 2008
• Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, by Bill McKibben, 2010
• Storms of my Grandchildren, by James Hansen, 2009
• The New Carbon Economy, by Peter Newell, Maxwell Boykoff and Emily Boyd 2012

Format: Participants are encouraged (not required) to sign up for a role to lead a 30-40 min segment (eg. facilitating a discussion or other learning activity). We might also have guest speakers, and we’ll plan some Friday evening events/films on climate change to complement the course.

We’ll coordinate a potluck approach to bringing drinks and snacks, and pass the hat during each class with suggested donations of $4 to benefit CommunEcos for use of the space (assuming minimum of 8 people enrolled for entire course).

Action Projects: Early in the course participants will sign up for group projects to design some “action” for solving problems we study. In the last two weeks each group will involve the class in their action plan.

*Bio: Sandy Smith-Nonini, PhD, is an adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina, where she teaches on global capitalism, labor and environmental policy. She was an assistant professor at Elon University from 2000-2005. Sandy authored Healing the Body Politic, a book on health rights struggles in El Salvador. She does research on the economics of oil and is writing a book on the farm labor movement in North Carolina. She is a founder and coordinator of Recyclique/CommunEcos. Her CV is here:

Full Text to This Changes Everything:

Heft Notes to This Changes Everything:

Proposed Schedule:  Capitalism vs. Climate Reading Group
Date of Session:     Topic:              Reading:     Discussion Leaders:
Mon. Sept. 7 Introduction/Planning TCE: Introduction -Sandy
Mon. Sept. 14 Battle of Worldviews TCE: Chap. 1 -Ruth
Mon. Sept. 21 Extractivism vs.
Indigenous Perspectives TCE: Chaps 5 & 11  —– – Betsy B.
Mon. Sept. 28 Hot Money/Free Trade TCE: Chap. 2 -Harry
Mon. Oct. 5 Role of Public Sphere TCE: Chap. 3 & 4 -Betsy
Mon. Oct. 12 Greenwashing by Cor-
porations & Enviro Orgs TCE: Chap. 6 – ——— Nancy L.
Mon. Oct. 19 Billionaire/Mega-schemes TCE: Chaps. 7 & 8 ———————————————————
Mon. Oct. 26 New Climate Activism TCE: Chap. 9
Mon. Nov. 2 Democracy & Divestment TCE: Chap. 10 -Tom F.
Mon. Nov. 9 NO CLASS [Go to Tues Nov. 10 screening of TCE Film]
Mon. Nov. 16 Climate debt & the
Atmospheric Commons TCE: Chap. 12 – Meredith & Sandy & Nancy M.
Mon. Nov. 23 NO CLASS – [Thanksgiving week]
Mon. Nov. 30 Politics of Renewal TCE: Chap. 13 & Conclusion —-Jonathan
Mon. Dec. 7 Potluck social and planning for future actions/education

Slide show from 9/7 session:

Science & Politics Global Warming-with 2015 edits

Link to video of Brooklyn, NY event Thur. Sept. 10th, with Bill McKibben & Naomi Klein:

Democracy Now – videos w/ Bill McKibben:

Harry – Notes for Chapter Two

Links for Chaps 3 & 4 – from Betsy Crites:

The Leap Manifesto

This Changes Everything film ticket flyer