On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal

As news about climate change grows more urgent, the writing of journalists like Naomi Klein, who’s covered the subject for almost 10 years, has grown more vital than ever.

On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal collects Klein’s finest long-form essays on climate of the previous decade. Organized in chronological order, the collection begins with her 2011 coverage of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a spill so large it’s been described as “the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.” Klein explains in scrupulous prose how poorly the oil company handled the clean-up. Her description of a town hall meeting between a BP representative and the residents of a small town affected by the spill is especially pointed.

Another standout is her 2017 article “Season of Smoke,” wherein she draws connections between that year’s record-breaking wildfires in the western U.S. with climate change. A prominent theme here and throughout the collection is one of inequality, and how, even within the relatively wealthy United States, injustices tracing economic and racial lines exacerbate the suffering caused by the fires and other consequences of global warming.

Opening the collection is an introduction by Klein that argues why the entire globe—and not merely the U.S.—needs a Green New Deal, a wide-reaching plan that would reshape almost every aspect of contemporary life, including policy, economics and health care. This enraging but judicious collection will appeal to anyone who cares about the future of the planet.

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