Science & Society 5: Capitalism vs. Climate

Science & Society is an event series that grapples with our relationships with nature and each other. Series curator and host Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson guides experts in conversations that lead us deep into humanity’s timely and intersectional challenges, from biodiversity, to plastics, public knowledge, the high seas, farming, climate, and love.
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The quest for short-term profits has been to the detriment of a habitable planet. Mining, overfishing, and clear cutting have led to pollution, extinctions, and loss of nature. By combusting fossil fuels, we’ve gone beyond changing ecology to changing the very chemistry of the atmosphere and ocean. Extractive capitalism has upended our climate. Yet, might it also, given the power of markets, help us find a way forward? This moment in human history requires nothing less than transformation—of electricity, transportation, agriculture, buildings—of our relationships to nature and to each other. But we actually have most of the solutions we need, from renewable energy to regenerative farming. Can we implement them at scale within a financial system that maximizes quarterly profits? How might banks, insurance companies, corporations, and the like become an intentional and engaged part of the solution? And what is the role of governments? Of communities? Of artists and storytellers? Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson will host journalist and activist Naomi Klein and finance expert Régine Clément, both contributors to the climate anthology All We Can Save, for a conversation grappling with how we might transform our economy in order to address the climate crisis.

Signed copies of All We Can Save are now available for purchase in our online store.

This program is co-presented with Cooper Climate Coalition.

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, columnist, and author of the New York Times and international bestsellers The Shock Doctrine, No Logo, This Changes Everything, and No Is Not Enough. A Senior Correspondent for The Intercept, reporter for Rolling Stone, and contributor for both The Nation and The Guardian, Klein is the inaugural Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University. She is co-founder of the climate justice organization The Leap. More at @NaomiAKlein.

Régine Clément is an entrepreneur and expert resource for investors in the climate and sustainability financing space. She is currently the CEO of CREO, an organization focused on catalyzing capital into sustainability solutions across sectors and asset classes. Prior to joining CREO, Régine was Trade Commissioner and Head of Energy and Environment at the Canadian Consulate General in New York. She co-founded and co-managed the Canadian Technology Accelerator for Cleantech. Previously she was Executive Director of SENS Production; a Trade Policy Analyst with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa, Canada; and an Analyst with Fundación Futuro Latino Americano on trade and environmental policy.

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, and writer. She is co-founder of the nonprofits Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for the future of coastal cities, and The All We Can Save Project, an initiative to support feminist climate leadership. She hosts the Spotify/Gimlet podcast How to Save a Planet and is a science scholar at Pioneer Works and a Brooklyn native. Her mission is to build community around climate solutions. Find her at @ayanaeliza.

The Cooper Climate Coalition is an open body of students, faculty, and staff at The Cooper Union, facilitating conversations, events, and student projects within the institution that center the climate crisis and its intersections with races, classes, genders, sexualities, histories, economies, political structures and more. Along with organizing Cooper Union’s Climate Week programs and events in the fall, the Climate Coalition takes responsibility for fostering interdisciplinarity throughout The Cooper Union in support of environmental action

The Pioneer Works Broadcast is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, bridging the two cultures of science and the arts.