"When I say that," Klein replied, "I mean stuff that sounds crazy to other people. But it doesn't sound crazy to me. I think we will get to a point where saying we should nationalize the oil companies won't sound crazy. Because the bills are just going to add up."
"You know what's crazy," she said, "is letting the corporations who've left us with the most expensive mess in history just keep all the money they've made for themselves," instead of paying to clean up the mess, and helping fix it. "No. That's insane," she said.
"This economic model is failing us spectacularly, on multiple levels," she added, "but we're still acting as if our goal is to save it," rather than transform it into something that won't destroy us.
Indeed, I suggested, that appears to be the case even among progressives who still prioritize economic growth at the expense of the climate.
"The levels of denial are so complicated," she said. "We are all in denial. All of us. People are holding back a tremendous amount of anxiety. You don't let yourself care about something that you have no idea how to fix. Because it's just too terrifying. And it would derail your whole life, as Yotam was saying.
"That's why there has to be a narrative, a plan, for how we integrate so much of what we're already doing into a common project. Because so long as people feel like nothing that they know now applies, then they will work really hard to keep this information at bay.
"This is our meta-issue. We've all gotta get inside it. Because this is our home. We are already inside it, like it or not, and it's inside us. So the idea that we can somehow divorce from it is a fantasy that we have to let go of."
I asked about her decision to have a baby, in spite of everything she knows.
She got quiet. "For a long time," she told me, "I just couldn't see a future for a child that wasn't some, like, Mad Max climate-warrior thing."
>> INTERVIEW: Naomi Klein on motherhood, climate justice, and the failures of the environmental movement <<
Somehow, though, her engagement in the climate movement seems to have changed that. Another future seemed possible. She and Lewis decided to have a child, but struggled with infertility. Then, having given up, surprise: along came Toma.
If anything, the experience has made Klein all the more a fighter. She now believes that denying her desire to have a child, because of the mess being made by those willing to destroy the planet for profit, would be a form of surrender.
"I guess what I want to say is, I don't want to give them that power," she told me. "I'd rather fight like hell than give these evil motherfuckers the power to extinguish the desire to create life."
Wen Stephenson, a freelance journalist, serves on the board of Cambridge-based Better Future Project and is a co-founder of 350 Massachusetts (350MA.org), both allied with 350.org. His Phoenix cover story, "A Convenient Excuse," appeared in the November 2 issue.