The Uninhabitable Earth
Life After Warming
The future is being transformed by climate change faster and more dramatically than we realized. Politics, technology, cities, business—even our sense of history, human rights, and justice—will all be changed by this massive force. But how? To what degree? In his critically-hailed instant New York Times bestseller The Uninhabitable Earth, David Wallace-Wells tells the epic story of our time. In urgent talks, he asks key questions—how will the map of global power shift as coastlines are redrawn?—and reminds us that everything is within our control, so long as we resist complacency.
“Potent and evocative … Wallace-Wells has resolved to offer something other than the standard narrative of climate change … He avoids the ‘eerily banal language of climatology’ in favor of lush, rolling prose.”— Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times
With an original take on climate keynotes, Wallace-Wells moves beyond “what must be done” to investigate “what will the world actually look like.” Neither a scientist or an environmental activist per se, Wallace-Wells is a celebrated journalist who has spent his life living in cities, adding a much-needed focus on storytelling, as well as a look at geopolitical and economic consequences. How will humans live together on a degraded planet? Will carbon become a central topic of the 21st century the way human rights were to the 20th? How will the dynamics between nations shift as a result of divergent climate impacts? For college audiences, Wallace-Wells also examines how public sentiment and political action are changing—again, much faster than anyone might have predicted. For the corporate sphere, he reminds us that no sector will be left untouched—but change will vary. This, he says, is the moment to truly engage with what climate change really means.
Wallace-Wells is the Deputy Editor at New York magazine, where he writes a column on climate change, and where his viral cover story “The Uninhabitable Earth” was met with widespread acclaim, paving the way for his book. Formerly the Deputy Editor of The Paris Review, and a National Fellow at the New America Foundation, he is the co-host of the podcast 2038 , which interrogates predictions about the next two decades.
The impending climate crisis isn’t impending—it’s already here. There’s no going back, and all we can do is damage control to try to slow the rising temperatures: it’s a depressing thought, but true. How can we deal with a problem that possesses the speed, scope and severity of a disaster straight out of Greek mythology or Genesis? What can the generation who inherited this damaged planet do to keep it alive? Navigating the future and mitigating the consequences of the actions of irresponsible ancestors will be a challenge—but it’s something we can all face together.
In this talk, David Wallace-Wells draws on the findings in his book, The Uninhabitable Earth, and explores the near-future we face in the wake of the climate crisis. Even though there will be difficult times ahead, there is still time to mitigate the effects of years of abusing our planet and, most importantly—there is still hope for a livable future for all. This is our story: everything we do now, or want to do, is affected by it, from the jobs we can have, where we can live, what we can eat and the pop culture we consume. Wallace-Wells knows that we’re not just watching this story unfold, we’re all the protagonists. The future is ours to write: the past might have provided the paper, but we hold the pen.