How to Change Everything

How to Change Everything
Photo by Louis Maniquet / Unsplash

How to Change Everything: The Young Human's Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other, by Naomi Klein with Rebecca Stefoff, is essential reading for young people who want to better understand the climate crisis. It covers where we are in this crisis, how we got to this point, and what needs to happen next to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. This is an overwhelming topic for young people and adults, but the book offers tools for young activists to guide them in responding to this crisis.

How to Change Everything is reminiscient of Klein's This Changes Everything, a 2014 book for adults that investigates the links between climate change and capitalism. Klein's focus on capitalism is found in How to Change Everything, albeit adapted for a younger audience. She discusses oil companies' early research into climate change, as well as their moves to ignore or cover up this information. She also focuses on how environmentalism is often framed in terms of what individuals should do, rather than centering the responsibility of industry and economic systems to change. This is a welcome discussion, particularly since a lot of environmental material geared towards young people is focused on the former.

While How to Change Everything covers some similar ground to Klein's other work, it also goes beyond into new territory. New protest movements are discussed, such as the Standing Rock protests or the Heiltsuk Nation's protest against the Northern Gateway pipeline. The continued focus on Indigenous protest and environmental movements is important.

Youth driven movements are also a central focus. Notable examples include the Juliana v. United States climate lawsuit of 2015, where twenty-one young people sued the United States government, as well as the Strike for Climate movement spearheaded by Greta Thunberg. As well, the book offers a toolkit for young activists, which includes many practical ideas for how young people can protest climate inaction, get connected to the environment, pursue climate justice, raise awareness, and start a movement. This book is a good place to start for middle school and high school students wanting to better understand how to take action to protect our world.