For Inspiring 'A New Agenda,' Naomi Klein Wins 2016 Sydney Peace Prize

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For Inspiring 'A New Agenda,' Naomi Klein Wins 2016 Sydney Peace Prize

Author and activists says award 'comes at a time when the impacts of the climate crisis are being acutely felt' around the world

"There is no looking away from the direct connection she makes between climate change and capitalism," says former Sydney Peace Prize winner Arundhati Roy about Naomi Klein, above. (Photo: Adolfo Lujan/flickr/cc)

Citing her work "exposing the structural causes and responsibility for the climate crisis," the Sydney Peace Foundation has awarded its 2016 Peace Prize to author and activist Naomi Klein. 

That work, said the jury, inspires people "to stand up locally, nationally and internationally to demand a new agenda for sharing the planet that respects human rights and equality," and serves as a reminder "of the power of authentic democracy to achieve transformative change and justice."

Responding to the news, the 46-year-old author of This Changes EverythingThe Shock Doctrine, and No Logo said she hoped the award would highlight the need for a "justice-based transition from fossil fuels, highlighting policies that dramatically lower emissions while creating huge numbers of jobs and battling systemic inequalities."

"It comes at a time when the impacts of the climate crisis are being acutely felt, from the devastating bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef to the horrific wildfires tearing across my own country," said Klein, who lives in Canada. "A great many people know in their hearts that now is the time for bold action. Yet political leadership is still lacking—and nowhere more so than in Australia."

As Common Dreams reported, Klein previously branded Prime Minister Tony Abbott as a "climate villain" and said that Canadians and Australians can relate because they are both run by governments that appear bent on destroying the planet.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Klein underscored the link between war, conflict, and global warming.

"I wouldn't say my primary identity is as a peace activist," she said. "But I see more militarism, and the possibility of peace, as entirely inseparable from the climate crisis. So much of what destabilizes our world is the quest for fossil fuels."

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Past recipients of the Sydney Peace Prize, which is worth $50,000, have included figureheads of the political left and have frequently attracted controversy with their visit.

Writer and activist Arundhati Roy made headlines in 2004 when she used her address to denounce then US President George W. Bush as a war criminal and condemned prime minister John Howard's role in the "illegal invasion" of Iraq (comments that would scarcely raise an eyebrow today) while recipients such as Palestinian activist Hanan Ashwari, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the philosopher Professor Noam Chomsky, have been denounced by some in the Australian media for having "one-sided criticisms of Israel", as associate professor Philip Mendes argued in The Australian in 2011.

Roy, for her part, also expressed hope that the prize would "amplify" Klein's message, saying "There is no looking away from the direct connection she makes between climate change and capitalism."

Klein will accept the award and deliver the Sydney Peace prize lecture at Sydney Town Hall on November 11.

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