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The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming – book review

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming – book review

A terrifying reality which we are probably not ready to face.

On the morning of 9th July 2017, a New York Magazine columnist made headlines with his sensational article, ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’. The dawn of that morning brought in a lot of terrifying details of an unimaginable future for the oblivious reader. Naturally, this piece has since then become known as the one of the most read article in the history of the New York Magazine.

Why, you ask?

The answer is rather simple, isn’t it? In this new age, where big organizations and entrepreneurs alike talk about innovation, technology and how they are going to change the world, they in fact, cannot change it. I reckon, they might not have time to change it either. This simple thought in rather excruciating detail was what David Wallace-Wells highlighted in his article. An article which took the whole city by storm and later inspired a book called ‘The Uninhabitable Earth – Life After Warming’. Published by Tim Duggan Books, the book adds flesh to the original magazine essay, examining critically the various possibilities for our planet’s future, under different predicted temperature changes, examining catastrophic impacts of climate change, including (but not limited to) extreme heat events, mass extinctions, dormant disease outbreaks, increased geopolitical conflicts, droughts, floods, rising sea levels, etc.

Villagers leaving from a distraught village. Image source: USA Today

We have been seeing this everyday for years – the rising temperatures every summer, the shrinking coastlines, the blazing forest fires, the melting glaciers, the periodic outbreaks of diseases, the unbreathable air, the global geopolitical conflicts. And today, the writing on the wall is clearer than ever before. The global catastrophe that has been unleased upon us in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic has left hardly any corner of the planet untouched, any aspect of our lives unaffected. We have been forced to withdraw from everything which has governed our conscious mind. And it’s now more than ever, that this book makes sense.

A tourist is scanned for body temperature during COVID-19 testing. Image source: Financial Express

This is indeed a book which brings into focus the harsh reality of our world which many of us have chosen to be oblivious to. The book however, is more focused on acquainting us to the horrors of our possible future, and does not provide any solutions to the alarms it raises. And maybe that’s what is needed in this current scenario, for maybe only when we are alarmed beyond reason, will we be forced to think of solutions. And that alarm is the harsh truth which we need to be acquainted with in order to contemplate solutions.

Mumbai floods from 2017 which left thousands stranded. Image Source: The Conversation

About The Author

Seerat Kaur

Seerat Kaur has completed her graduation and post graduation in Economics and Supply Chain and Logistics Management from the University of Warwick, UK. As a part of her degree, she has completed two dissertations which required primary data collection as well as analysis. At Envecologic, she primarily works in research and sustainability partnerships. In the duration of her work, she worked closely in launching the State of Delhi’s Air report, the biggest air pollution survey ever done in the capital.She’s a national level basketball player and loves swimming. Her interests include reading, travelling, sports and music.

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