15 Dec Interview: Naomi Klein on motherhood, climate justice, and the failures of the environmental movement
December 15th, 2012
By Wen Stephenson
This week in the Phoenix, Wen Stephenson profiles Naomi Klein — “black-clad and sharp-tongued mistress of the global anti-corporate left, friend to Occupiers and scourge of oil barons” — as she turns her attention to the cause of climate justice. Below is a longer excerpt from their conversation — about Klein’s alliance with 350.org’s Bill McKibben, her views on the environmental movement, and the ways in which her struggles to become a parent informed her views on climate (and vice versa). This interview took place on November 8, 2012. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Wen Stephenson: How did your collaboration with Bill McKibben and 350.org come about? What led you personally into this?
Naomi Klein: My first engagement with the climate issue was around the issue of climate debt. I was actually doing research about reparations for slavery, writing a long piece for Harper’s, in 2008. I’ve always been very interested in the Durban anti-racism conference [in Durban, South Africa]. In the lead-up to that UN conference in September 2001, the reparations movement in the United States and in Africa really took off. It was becoming incredibly mainstream. Manning Marable was having pieces published in Time magazine, it was on the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.