The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells

I was curious about The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells – Life After Warming. Global warming is something we should be dealing with, but we are not. There are plenty of warnings, from TV shows like Planet Earth or War on Plastic, to just listening to the weather reports where “this is the warmest day on record” seems to be part of the forecast each year. I was wondering if there are things I wouldn’t know in the book and there were plenty. Some are incredible. I gave 5 stars to the book and I urge you to read it, given the chance.

As the author said: “Each of us imposes some suffering on our future selves every time we flip on a light switch, buy a plane ticket, or fail to vote.”

The uninhabitable earth by David Wallace-Wells

He talks about extreme weather, from US wildfires to flooding in Asia. It just shows how global this phenomenon is. He mentions the effects that climate change has: food shortages, water shortages, refugee emergencies, increased risk of wars and conflicts (aggressivity increased in hot weather). Every little detail is presented with facts and figures, without being boring. Wallace-Wells talks about the “Church of Technology”, a new wave of beliefs that technology will offer redemption (e.g. carbon capture) or it goes even as far as having an eternal life having our minds uploaded into a computer. The comparisons with religion are striking. It is a harrowing account of what happens and what will happen next if we don’t act now.

He is not an environmentalist, but someone who would continue as today if that was a possibility. But it’s not. We are now facing a mass extinction: ours.
He doesn’t offer any real solutions, because there aren’t any. It’s down to us. At the TV show I’ve mentioned earlier, War on Plastic, one said that the governments should do more, but they don’t care. Well… in France the government tried to increase the tax on fuel that led to Gilets jaunes movement. People died in the protests in France. In UK, the government imposed a 5p tax on single use plastic bags in supermarkets and there was a lot of discontent regarding this. Also, my British readers might remember the sugar tax being labelled as a “tax on the poor” (because, apparently, for some people, the poor really need sugary drinks), imagine the backlash any government would face if they would try to ban the whole thing.

What I didn’t like in the book. First of all, he tried to make sense why it was ok for him to have a child and more children in the future, despite being aware that by the time his daughter will reach a point in her life when she would want to get married and maybe have children, the whole world would have to deal with things like global refugee crises due to climate change. I wouldn’t have mentioned that if he would have mentioned it in the book.
Also, he doesn’t talk enough about what we can do, how we can change our lifestyles.

The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: Yes
Published by: Tim Duggan Books
Year it was published: 2019
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): Science
Pages: 310

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.
Website & Social Media Links: –

1 thought on “The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells”

  • I think one of my greatest concerns in all of this is the plastic situation. When I see reports of the floating “islands” in the ocean (bigger than the state of Texas!), it’s depressing. I try and do what I can on my part and I know many countries are trying to change, but it’s frustrating when you have countries that won’t comply. (and I won’t name names)

    You’re right about the mass extinction. The earth can heal itself in time. It just won’t be inhabitable by humans during the process.

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