Reading this book is like slowing your car to gawk at a wreck, only to realize you’re in the wreck; it is equal parts disaster porn and collective autobiography. Wallace-Wells’s erudite breakdown of what climate change is doing to us right now, and what it is certain to do to our children, is savage in its dismissal of optimism and brilliant in its urgency. I’ve rarely read anything as politically galvanizing: This is writing to raise your heart rate. Recommended By Rhianna W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - "The Uninhabitable Earth hits you like a comet, with an overflow of insanely lyrical prose about our pending Armageddon." Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon
It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible. In California, wildfires now rage year-round, destroying thousands of homes. Across the US, "500-year" storms pummel communities month after month, and floods displace tens of millions annually.
This is only a preview of the changes to come. And they are coming fast. Without a revolution in how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth could become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century.
In his travelogue of our near future, David Wallace-Wells brings into stark relief the climate troubles that await — food shortages, refugee emergencies, and other crises that will reshape the globe. But the world will be remade by warming in more profound ways as well, transforming our politics, our culture, our relationship to technology, and our sense of history. It will be all-encompassing, shaping and distorting nearly every aspect of human life as it is lived today.
Like An Inconvenient Truth and Silent Spring before it, The Uninhabitable Earth is both a meditation on the devastation we have brought upon ourselves and an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation.
"Urgent and humane. . . . Wallace-Wells is an extremely adept storyteller. . . . A horrifying assessment of what we might expect as a result of climate change if we don't change course." Susan Matthews, Slate
”Most of us know the gist, if not the details, of the climate change crisis. And yet it is almost impossible to sustain strong feelings about it. David Wallace-Wells has now provided the details, and with writing that is not only clear and forceful, but often imaginative and even funny, he has found a way to make the information deeply felt. This is a profound book, which simultaneously makes me terrified and hopeful about the future, ashamed and proud of being a human.“ Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything is Illuminated
”David Wallace-Wells argues that the impacts of climate change will be much graver than most people realize, and he’s right. The Uninhabitable Earth is a timely and provocative work.“ Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction
“The Uninhabitable Earth is the most terrifying book I have ever read. Its subject is climate change, and its method is scientific, but its mode is Old Testament. The book is a meticulously documented, white-knuckled tour through the cascading catastrophes that will soon engulf our warming planet…. Wallace-Wells’s imagine-the-worst approach has become prescient…. I read it with an unfolding mix of horror and hopelessness, the way you might learn of a terminal diagnosis that affects yourself and your family and everyone else you might ever hope to know.” Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times
About the Author
DAVID WALLACE-WELLS is a national fellow at the New America foundation and a columnist and deputy editor at New York magazine. He was previously the deputy editor of The Paris Review. He lives in New York City.