Book Review: The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells (Review by Brian Toal)

The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells

This is a terrifying book but must be read. We’re all doomed. Yes, no matter what we do, we’re all doomed. However, you’ll be glad to know that when and how we’re doomed is still within our powers to control. So, a happy ending then. The chapter headings ‘Heat Death’, ‘Hunger’, ‘Drowning’ and ‘Wildfire’ are a flavour of how we are killing our planet and, by extension, ourselves. The book is full of frightening facts and figures and the notes section is replete with scientific studies to support the writer’s arguments. The afterword is the final nail in the coffin which removes the last vestiges of optimism within the book, as two years after finishing the book, he realised that this optimism was misplaced.

So, why read such a doom-laden tome? It’s important that we know what’s coming. He argues that political activism is the only way forward – not different straws or more expensive plastic bags at the shops. Switching to veganism will help, but only if we all do it right now. It takes 8 pounds of grain to produce one pound of hamburger meat. Cut out the cow and eat the grain. It’s a no-brainer. The ice-sheet in Greenland is losing a billion tons of ice a day. Louisiana is losing a football field of land every hour. But we won’t all suffer equally. The first country to industrialize and produce greenhouse gas on a grand scale, the U.K., is expected to suffer the least from climate change. 

The Uninhabitable Earth available from Waterstones Byres Road

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