Climate solutions beyond capitalism (study guide)

Jun 2, 2020

Millions around the world are demanding action and actively seeking solutions to the unfolding climate crisis. The dialogue at the top is confined to solutions that align with the laws of capitalism and unbridled economic growth. But what if we look to solutions beyond how we currently structure our economies?

Tina Landis’ Climate Solutions Beyond Capitalism, the latest book from Liberation Media, makes the case that socialism provides the framework for solving the crisis and demonstrates how capitalism acts as a barrier to a shift in our relationship to each other and the planet, crucial for humanity’s survival. Climate Solutions Beyond Capitalism outlines practices being implemented and studied around the world and conveys both urgency and optimism for the liberation of humanity and the planet.

This Liberation School companion study guide will help readers more actively engage the text as they isolate key ideas and contexts, take note of their own curiosities, and extend the book’s content to different scenarios. You can order the book here.


  1. In what ways has capitalism addressed the climate crisis?
  2. How has the fossil fuel industry changed since global warming was first acknowledged 28 years ago?
  3. What does the mainstream narrative focus on in relation to the cause of the problem, and why?
  4. How did the US and EU influence the outcome of the 2019 Madrid Climate Change Conference?
  5. What do the capitalists promote as solutions and why are these false solutions?
  6. A co-worker argues that the free market can solve the climate crisis. How do you respond?
  7. How is the class struggle reflected within the climate crisis? 


  1. Why did the author write this book? 
  2. How does it differ from other books on climate change?
  3. At this point, what are you most curious about in the text that follows?

Chapter 1: Is there a future worth fighting for?

  1. What is the problem with capitalist solutions to climate change?
  2. What are feedback loops? How do they work? 
  3. Is there a way out of the crisis? 
  4. A friend argues that we can solve the crisis through technological innovation and keep exploiting the natural world as we have been. How would you respond?

Chapter 2: Agriculture and land use

  1. How much carbon can be captured through reforestation?
  2. What factors are causing the 6th mass extinction?
  3. How can reintroducing grazing herds in Siberia help keep permafrost intact? 
  4. What are some ways that mycelium benefits the ecosystem?
  5. Is hunger an issue of food shortages? If not, why does it occur?
  6. What is regenerative agriculture and how is it better for the people and planet than industrial methods?
  7. How do agroforestry and managed grazing lower methane from livestock?
  8. How does land use affect climate change?
  9. Some on the Left think that veganism is the solution to methane emissions and deforestation. How would you respond? 

Chapter 3: The role of the oceans

  1. How much CO2 have oceans absorbed and what are the effects? 
  2. In what ways are phytoplankton similar to trees? 
  3. What are some projects that can help the oceans?
  4. What’s the relationship between agriculture and ocean health?
  5. How is Cuba protecting the oceans?
  6. What important role do sea turtles play? How is climate change affecting them?
  7. What plant can be used to replace plastics?
  8. How does the Ocean Cleanup project work?
  9. What are some other benefits that oceans provide for people and the planet?
  10. If individuals stopped eating fish, could we save the oceans? Why or why not?

Chapter 4: Our warming world

  1. What are some effects of the warming Arctic?
  2. How long does CO2 remain in the atmosphere?
  3. Explain the feedback loop from melting ice sheets?
  4. What are the effects of melting permafrost?
  5. How many feet may sea levels rise by 2050?
  6. What are some ways to mitigate the effects of sea level rise?
  7. Why are local governments not addressing the risk of sea level rise?
  8. Wildfires have always been a part of the natural cycles of forests. How has this natural process changed with the warming climate?
  9. How many countries could be powered on 100% wind, water, and solar by 2050? 
  10. How have off-grid communities in Bangladesh achieved electrification?
  11. Why is nuclear not a sustainable form of energy production? 
  12. At an environmental movement coalition meeting, someone gives a presentation identifying China as a major obstacle to climate justice. Given the arguments in this chapter, how would you respond?
  13. How would the global shift to renewables happen under socialism? 
  14. Someone argues that the recent snow storms in the Midwest and Northeast in May 2020 disprove climate change. How would you respond? 

Chapter 5: The ecological footprint of capitalism

  1. Name some ways that capitalism is inherently unsustainable.
  2. When and why did consumer culture in the US arise?
  3. What are two tools of the marketing and production system that increase sales? 
  4. What percentage of products bought today will be discarded within 6 months?
  5. How much food is wasted in the US and what’s the reason for this waste?
  6. What is the second most polluting industry globally?
  7. What is the “cradle-to-cradle” model in production?
  8. In a conversation with a co-worker, they tell you that more companies need to “go green” to solve the climate crisis. How do you respond? 

Chapter 6: Transforming how we work and live

  1. How has Cuba increased energy efficiency?
  2. When and how did the commuter culture arise?
  3. Why are public transit and electric vehicles not a sustainable solution to long commutes?
  4. Explain the urban heat island effect.
  5. Describe how an eco-city would function in a sustainable way.
  6. How would workers’ lives improve under an eco-city? 
  7. If we divide the existence of humanity into 365 days, how many days represent life under class society?
  8. How did the rise of class society change our relationship with each other and the planet?
  9. Some argue for living outside the capitalist society (and “off the grid”) and that expanding organic farming co-ops are viable solutions. What are the shortcomings to this?

Chapter 7: The economics of transformation

  1. How is the US capitalist system reliant on fossil fuels? 
  2. In what ways does the capitalist system protect polluters?
  3. What is disaster capitalism?
  4. How can we win reforms under capitalism? 
  5. What is the problem with reforms? 
  6. How can we fund the shift to a sustainable world? 
  7. What are some steps needed to achieve this? 
  8. How does socialism make this transformation possible? How does capitalism act as a barrier? 
  9. Many people argue that socialism is utopian and that humans are inherently greedy and destructive. How would you respond?