Wordfest 2014: Naomi Klein at Knox United Church

There’s a line around the block outside the Knox United Church to see somebody talk about how the world is coming to an end unless we repent of our sinful ways and enter a glorious new world of love and brotherhood. The preacher is Naomi Klein, a small and unassuming woman with an uncanny knack for finding the hottest-button topic of any age and writing the books that future history professors will assign to students looking to understand the anti-globalization movement of the ’90s (No Logo) and the recent financial crash (The Shock Doctrine). That is, if there are colleges in the future, and if there are humans. It’s looking increasingly unlikely that we’ll survive this century, and although we’re always one mutated virus away from the next pandemic, one inattentive astronomer away from an asteroid cracking Earth open, our extinction will likely come about as a result of climate change.

Klein addressed a congregation that is mostly old enough to have been old when No Logo was released – there are no aged Battle of Seattle veterans here. Despite moderator and oil-sands activist Andrew Nikiforuk’s promise that she’d be “rabble rousing,” there’s not much fire here, and very little brimstone unless you count the sulfur dioxide that geo-engineers would like to use to cool the Earth (Klein is emphatically against this proposal, and paints a picture of a geo-engineering conference she attended as a fraternity of tech dudebros congratulating each other).

 

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