Facing Global Climate Disruption and the End of Everything All At Once…
David Wallace-Wells’ The Uninhabitable Earth tries very hard to critique those who have thrown in the towel and offer some “hope” or optimism. We CAN stop emitting carbon on such a detrimental scale; but we cannot alter the cascading effects of what all our natural “interventions” have created. Massive die-off of so many species; loss of forests; loss of ice, etc.
A review in the NYT:
“The Uninhabitable Earth” seems to be modeled more on Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” — or, at least, it’s a bid to do for greenhouse gases what Carson’s 1962 book did for pesticides. “Silent Spring” became a galvanizing force, a foundational text for the environmental movement. The overarching frame for Wallace-Wells’s book is an analogous call to action: “How much will we do to stall disaster, and how quickly?”
Here’s the problem with that…Rachel Carson’s book had no real effect after all
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. Does Monsanto not exist? Do we not keep poisoning the water table, the air we breathe, the plants we eat? Has there not been massive insect die-off, species extinction, habitat destruction? Silent Spring says more about synergies and entanglements than it does about pesticides. It says, all interventions in nature effect more than anyone knows; all chemical interventions proceed with almost laughably no understanding of the consequences, or humility about those consequences. Humans are ruthlessly stupid.
Electricity is not understood at all globally–it is magic. “Coal is bad” but “electricity is good.” Hmmm…