2015 Torontonians of the Year: Canadian journalist and activist Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein, Author

For Naomi Klein, celebrated Canadian journalist and activist, stirring the proverbial pot has always been a part of daily life. The author of five books and winner of countless awards and accolades never bothered with a university degree, opting to forge her own path instead.

This past year, all eyes have been on the 45-year-old High Park provocateur for her latest work, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. The bestseller was released in September 2014 to critical acclaim, scooping up the prestigious Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. 

This Changes Everything argues that, if we wish to mend our broken economy and avoid the impending dangers of climate change, humanity must alter its relationship to the world. Although the book is meant to be a frank and sometimes terrifying wake-up call, it is tempered with hope and faith in the human race. We will embrace change because we must.

Joining forces with her filmmaker husband Avi Lewis — son of lefty T.O. royalty, Stephen Lewis — Klein has adapted the book for the big screen. The result is a compelling documentary that premiered to much hype at this year’s TIFF. Lewis’s film plays out Klein’s hard-hitting treatise on an emotional landscape, telling the stories of real-life people and their trials and everyday struggles created in the wake of the ailing economy and environment.  

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, running from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris, makes the film’s release incredibly timely. Perhaps the result of these climate talks will reflect Klein’s overall thesis and truly begin the change that Klein and so many others are desperately calling out for.

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