The Uninhabitable Earth

“It is worse, much worse, than you think. The slowness of climate change is like a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says that it isn’t happening at all. . . that global warming is an Arctic saga, unfolding remotely. . .”

The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future by David Wallace-Wells is a book flowing with lyrical prose. Yet, it is also written in a brave almost eerie voice about the future. The book shakes the reader out of complacency. Some things  you might not want to learn, but there is no escape, for example by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.  Only understanding of the scale of the problems will lead to actions and a search for solutions to the problems.

Many people believe that the climate change is a sort of payback for two centuries of industrial captialism characterized by the heavy use of machinery but it is the recent way of living that has made the most destruction to Earth. The destruction is fast and most of the damage has been done since the reality of climate change started to appear – 30 years ago the disruptive impact of burning fossil fuels become first page news. It was a Swedish scientist, Svante Arrhenius, who in 1896 first estimated the  warming from widespread coal burning.

To write about this serious topic in a way that is engaging, at times funny and imaginative is admirable. Perfect book for a lazy summer’s day and it will spark endless discussions on the beach while you are  watching the sun set.

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