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March 31, 2020 – “…At this very moment in our history, the men rising to the highest office in country after country… are full-fledged planetary arsonists,” said Naomi Klein at a Berkeley Journalism event on Oct. 24, 2019.

“They are pouring fuels on these fires with defiance. We have Trump rolling back every environmental law conceivable, cracking open public lands to unrestricted drilling and fracking, trolling Greta [Thunberg] on Twitter, ogling Greenland for the fossil fuels now available under the melting ice. But this is not just about Trump, this is a global phenomenon…”

Klein, the author of the book On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal and the Gloria Steinem Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University, discussed with journalism lecturer Mark Schapiro the need for a fundamental transformation of our economy and politics as climate disruptions accelerate.

“I think that the life cycle of the salmon, more than any other creature I know, just speaks to this beautiful web that you could have this one fish that is so incredibly generous in its life,” she said. “Many indigenous coastal cultures have salmon at the center and huge respect for salmon. …And it scares me, it terrifies me, because salmon are amazing — they’re resilient, they can get through a lot. But they don’t like hot water.

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“There are so many things we’ve done to salmon that we can undo,” she continues. “We can take down a dam that’s blocking them and you can clear out a stream where they’re not able to go upstream …but it seems that we are warming our rivers and streams and oceans just too much. And this past summer, we saw some runs collapse and was just the heat. That’s the thing that scares me most.”

Listen to the full discussion above in the Berkeley Talks episode “Naomi Klein on eco-facism and the Green New Deal” here: https://news.berkeley.edu/2020/03/27/berkeley-talks-naomi-klein/

This talk was originally published on On Mic, a podcast produced by UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Read the transcript.

Subscribe to Berkeley Talks, Berkeley News podcast that features lectures and conversations at UC Berkeley.