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Book review: The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming — by David Wallace-Wells

(Tim Duggan Books)
There’s a reason why it feels slightly futile, if you’re thinking about climate change, to turn off your lights when you leave the room, or keep your heat low. The changes needed to reverse climate change are needed at a fundamentally higher level of society and government. In his necessarily and intentionally alarming book, David Wallace-Wells writes that “individual lifestyle choices do not add up to much, unless they are scaled by politics” and that “climate change is what a theorist calls “a ‘hyperobject’ — a fact so large and complex that, like the internet, it can never be properly comprehended.” In his very first paragraph, he lays out the rationalizations we hear all the time — climate change has been going on since the Ice Ages, that the burning of fossil fuels is the cost of economic growth — but then he points out “more than half of the carbon exhaled into the atmosphere…has been emitted in just the past three decades.” We are already wexperiencing the effects of climate change and, at this point, there is no possible way it is not going to get worse. We missed the window in which to turn this ship; the iceberg was spotted in 1967, when the term “global warming” was coined. We need to be very alarmed.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.
Read One Book A Month: Global Warming & Climate Change
This Is the Way the World Ends, by Jeff Nesbit
The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert
The End of Ice, by Dahr Jamail
This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein
Climate Shock, by Gernot Wagner & Martin Weitzman
A Bright Future, by Joshua Goldstein & Staffan Qvist
Falter, by Bill McKibben
Drawdown, by Paul Hawken
Rising, by Elizabeth Rush
Learning to Die, by Robert Bringhurst & Jan Zwicky
A World of Three Zeros, by Muhammad Yunus
Love Letter to the Earth, by Thich Nhat Hanh

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