The Uninhabitable Earth: David Wallace-Wells on the horrors of climate change
“It is, I promise, worse than you think.” That was was the first line of David Wallace-Wells’s horrifying 2017 essay in New York magazine about climate change. It was an attempt to paint a very real picture of our not-too-distant future, a future filled with famines, political chaos, economic collapse, fierce resource competition, and a sun that “cooks us.” Wallace-Wells has since developed his terrifying essay into an even more terrifying book, titled The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. And it is a brutal read. Wallace-Wells was criticized in 2017 for being too hyperbolic, too doom-and-gloomy. Wallace-Wells isn’t counseling despair or saying all is lost; he’s merely laying out the alarming facts of what is likely to happen if we don’t radically change course. A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows. Sean Illing Your 2017 essay and your book both begin with the same sentiment: Things are much, much worse than we realize. David Wallace-Wells It’s bad. That’s right.
• Oh Dear, Things are not right
• Environmental Disaster
• You may be in Danger