How To Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other

S. & S./Atheneum. Feb. 2021. 336p. adapted by adapted by Rebecca Stefoff. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534474529.
Gr 8 Up–Do you remember learning the three Rs of environmentalism—reduce, reuse, and recycle? Klein says a fourth, more important, R exists—the root. This root has many fibers (primarily capitalism and consumerism), but they all grow from humanity’s subjugation of the Earth. Humans have arrived at a climate change cliff formed in the last 300 years due to mankind’s insatiable hunger for fossil-fueled energy. Some damage to the ground, air, and water by extracting and burning those fuels is irreversible, but by acting now, the planet can be saved from disaster. Industrialized countries caused the biggest share of this damage, according to Klein. Because these countries created most of the problem, they should be responsible for reversing the effects, which disproportionately impact poorer and marginalized people. Klein discusses the need for a Green New Deal: a systemic, comprehensive, and permanent overhauling of the capitalistic and consumer-driven cultures of industrial society. She reminds readers that the United States has done it before. FDR’s New Deal and the Marshall Plan were successful restructuring efforts that overhauled domestic and international systems. Klein encourages young people to get involved in groups that will work to reverse climate change. At more than 300 pages, this is still a daunting abridgment of Klein’s adult title. However, her well-presented ideas are engaging and comprehensible. She reminds readers there is no Planet B.
VERDICT A necessary purchase to educate teens on the seriousness of climate change and the imperative to enact change now.

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