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Journalist and author Naomi Klein takes a magnifying glass to what she calls “societal recklessness” – that is, increasing cultural tendency to gamble what is both precious and irretrievable – the environment and human health, for instance – without considering or preparing for a potential loss. Klein draws examples from sectors as diverse as finance, oil and politics and asserts a need for immediate action. getAbstract recommends her multifaceted, cerebral lecture to corporate leaders, investors and anyone interested in the potential outcomes of global warming.


Society is prone to extreme risk taking with no backup plan. For example, after a BP well spilled oil into the Gulf of Mexico, reports announced that 75% of the oil had vanished, but those who declared an averted disaster were wrong. Even small traces of contamination can endanger tiny organisms, and those toxins can travel up the food chain. This disaster is a symbol of “societal recklessness.” Similarly, world leaders rush into wars without considering the heavy toll, and financial mavens hail the latest economic bubble as the one that won’t burst. Understanding this risky behavior is paramount as humanity decides how to tackle climate change. This is perhaps the world’s “highest...

About the Speaker

Naomi Klein wrote The Shock Doctrine and No Logo. She is a columnist for The Nation and The Guardian.

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