The Uninhabitable Earth
Mr B's review
There’s an overarching debate around fear versus hope when engaging with the climate and ecological crises. We need active hope to fight despair, whilst honest narratives about the reality we’re facing are crucial to counteracting the collective denial which brought us here. Few voices have cut through the noise as effectively this year as Wallace-Wells’ with this investigation of our near-future home. It’s tough yet underpinned with faith in our ability to change, and a must-read.
**SUNDAY TIMES AND THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**
‘An epoch-defining book’ Matt Haig
‘If you read just one work of non-fiction this year, it should probably be this’ David Sexton, Evening Standard
Selected as a Book of the Year 2019 by the Sunday Times, Spectator and New Statesman
A Waterstones Paperback of the Year and shortlisted for the Foyles Book of the Year 2019
Longlisted for the PEN / E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
It is worse, much worse, than you think.
The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says it isn’t happening at all, and if your anxiety about it is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today.
Over the past decades, the term “Anthropocene” has climbed into the popular imagination – a name given to the geologic era we live in now, one defined by human intervention in the life of the planet. But however sanguine you might be about the proposition that we have ravaged the natural world, which we surely have, it is another thing entirely to consider the possibility that we have only provoked it, engineering first in ignorance and then in denial a climate system that will now go to war with us for many centuries, perhaps until it destroys us. In the meantime, it will remake us, transforming every aspect of the way we live-the planet no longer nurturing a dream of abundance, but a living nightmare.
A lucid and thorough description of our unprecedented crisis, and of the mechanisms of denial with which we seek to avoid its fullest recognition. — William Gibson Trigger warning: when scientists conclude that yesterday’s worst-case scenario for global warming is probably unwarranted optimism, it’s time to ask Scotty to beam you up. At least that was my reaction upon finishing Wallace-Wells’ brilliant and unsparing analysis of a nightmare that is no longer a distant future but our chaotic, burning present. — Mike Davis David Wallace-Wells argues that the impacts of climate change will 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: An Unnatural History’ If we don’t want our grandchildren to curse us, we had better read this book. — Timothy Snyder, author of ‘On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twenty-first Century’ If there are people around to write history books in the future, they will look back at the @ExtinctionR protestors and think they were the sanest people of our time. Read The Uninhabitable Earth by @dwallacewells if you don’t know why. * Johann Hari, Twitter * On [Alexandra] Ocasio-Cortez’s office bookshelf, near a picture of her late father and a photo of her with a local Girl Scout troop, two books nestle together in uneasy union. One is the Federalist papers. The other is The Uninhabitable Earth. * Time magazine profile on Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez * Yes, this book will scare you, but it will also prompt you to take action to ensure the damage we as humans have done to the planet is stopped. * Stylist, Your Guide to the Best Books of 2019 * Just finished The Uninhabitable Earth by @dwallacewells. Everyone, everywhere, should read it. Can’t remember the last time a book had such an impact on me. — Rutger Bregman, author of ‘Utopia for Realists’ * Twitter * The Uninhabitable Earth hits you like a comet, with an overflow of insanely lyrical prose about our pending armageddon. — Andrew Solomon Harrowing. * The New Yorker * Most of us known 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, full of regret and new will. — Jonathan Safran Foer Yes, this book will scare you, but it will also prompt you to take action to ensure the damage we as humans have done to the planet is stopped. * Stylist, `Your guide to 2019’s best non-fiction books’ * Exceptionally well researched and written. . . . This short, concise book pulls no punches. — Mitch Friedman, executive director, Conservation Northwest If you read just one work of non-fiction this year, it should probably be [this] . . . What this book forces you to face is more important than any other subject you could be informing yourself about. — David Sexton * The Evening Standard * In his gripping new book … Wallace-Wells shocks us out of complacency’ * Prospect * Well-written, captivating, occasionally wry and utterly petrifying * i News * A very accessible and compelling read . . . a much more nuanced and a much more hopeful vision than you might expect. * The Irish Times * A book that’s by turns alarming, terrifying and just downright bleak . . . a sustained piece of informed polemic. * The Evening Standard * Wake up! Get educated – The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace Wells is a great place to start. — Paris Lees * Vogue * Everyone should stop what they’re doing and read The Uninhabitable Earth by @dwallacewells. This is our future if we don’t act now. — Johann Hari * Twitter * Not since Bill McKibben’s “The End of Nature” 30 years ago have we been told what climate change will mean in such vivid terms. — Fred Pearce * The Washington Post * Brilliant … At the heart of Wallace-Wells’s book is a remorseless, near-unbearable account of what we are doing to our planet * The New York Times * There is much to learn from this book. From media and scientific reports of the past decade, Wallace-Wells sifts key predictions and conveys them in vivid prose. — David George Haskell * The Observer * Enough to induce an honest-to-God panic attack … The margins of my review copy of the book are scrawled with expressions of terror and despair, declining in articulacy as the pages proceed, until it’s all just cartoon sad faces and swear words … To read The Uninhabitable Earth is to understand the collapse of the distinction between alarmism and plain realism — Mark O’Connell * The Guardian * Wallace-Wells is an extremely adept storyteller, simultaneously urgent and humane . . . [he] does a terrifyingly good job of moving between the specific and the abstract. * Slate * Skipping the scientific jargon and relaying the facts in urgent and elegant prose, the magazine editor crafts a stirring wake-up call to recognize how global warming will permanently alter every aspect of human life. — Best Nonfiction Books of 2019 So Far * Time * Riveting . . . Some readers will find Mr Wallace-Wells’s outline of possible futures alarmist. He is indeed alarmed. You should be, too. * The Economist * I’ve not stopped talking about The Uninhabitable Earth since I opened the first page. And I want every single person on this planet to read it. A must-read. It’s not only the grandkids and the kids: it’s you. And it’s not only those in other countries: it’s you. — Margaret Atwood * Twitter * This is what I’m reading now: The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells. It focuses on the range of realistic possibilities with climate change. It does not sugarcoat, and can be quite scary — that’s without primarily focusing on the worstcase scenario. When people ask ‘What can I do? – Read! What we need right now, in this country, is for all of us to be better, including ourselves. The most terrifying book I have ever read . . . a meticulously documented, white-knuckled tour through the cascading catastrophes that will soon engulf our warming planet. * The New York Times * Relentless, angry journalism of the highest order. Read it and, for the lack of any more useful response, weep. . . .The article was a sensation and the book will be, too. — Bryan Appleyard * The Sunday Times * ‘A masterly analysis’ * Nature * ‘Clear, engaging and often dazzling’ * The Telegraph * In crystalline prose, Wallace-Wells provides a devastating overview of where we are in terms of climate crisis and ecological destruction, and what the future will hold if we keep on going down the same path. Urgently readable, this is an epoch-defining book. — Matt Haig, ‘The Book that Changed My Mind’ * The Guardian *
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