Uninhabitable Earth
David Wallace-Wells

Book cover image

Narrated By: David Wallace-Wells

Duration: 8 hours and 34 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

It is worse, much worse, than you think.

The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says it isn't happening at all, and if your anxiety about it is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today.

Over the past decades, the term 'Anthropocene' has climbed into the popular imagination - a name given to the geologic era we live in now, one defined by human intervention in the life of the planet. But however sanguine you might be about the proposition that we have ravaged the natural world, which we surely have, it is another thing entirely to consider the possibility that we have only provoked it, engineering first in ignorance and then in denial a climate system that will now go to war with us for many centuries, perhaps until it destroys us. In the meantime, it will remake us, transforming every aspect of the way we live - the planet no longer nurturing a dream of abundance but a living nightmare.

Written and read by David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth is a powerful examination of the world we find ourselves in.

© David Wallace-Wells 2019 (P) Penguin Audio 2019

Genre

Climate change, Political science & theory, Geopolitics, Natural disasters, Social forecasting, future studies

Listen to a sample

David Wallace-Wells argues that the impacts of climate change will much graver than most people realize, and he's right. The Uninhabitable Earth is a timely and provocative work.

A must-read. It's not only the grandkids and the kids: it's you. And it's not only those in other countries: it's you.

Twitter

Wallace-Wells is an extremely adept storyteller, simultaneously urgent and humane . . . [he] does a terrifyingly good job of moving between the specific and the abstract.

Slate

This is what I'm reading now: The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells. It focuses on the range of realistic possibilities with climate change. It does not sugarcoat, and can be quite scary -- that's without primarily focusing on the worstcase scenario. When people ask 'What can I do? - Read! What we need right now, in this country, is for all of us to be better, including ourselves.

I think everyone should probably right now read David Wallace-Wells's The Uninhabitable Earth, which tells the grim story with as much optimism as possible, and which gives all the facts.

The Spectator, Books of the Year

If there are people around to write history books in the future, they will look back at the @ExtinctionR protestors and think they were the sanest people of our time. Read The Uninhabitable Earth by @dwallacewells if you don't know why.

Johann Hari, Twitter

On [Alexandra] Ocasio-Cortez's office bookshelf, near a picture of her late father and a photo of her with a local Girl Scout troop, two books nestle together in uneasy union. One is the Federalist papers. The other is The Uninhabitable Earth.

Time magazine profile on Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez

'A masterly analysis'

Nature

Brilliant ... At the heart of Wallace-Wells's book is a remorseless, near-unbearable account of what we are doing to our planet

The New York Times

Just finished The Uninhabitable Earth by @dwallacewells. Everyone, everywhere, should read it. Can't remember the last time a book had such an impact on me.

Twitter

Harrowing.

The New Yorker

In crystalline prose, Wallace-Wells provides a devastating overview of where we are in terms of climate crisis and ecological destruction, and what the future will hold if we keep on going down the same path. Urgently readable, this is an epoch-defining book.

The Guardian

I've not stopped talking about The Uninhabitable Earth since I opened the first page. And I want every single person on this planet to read it.

There is much to learn from this book. From media and scientific reports of the past decade, Wallace-Wells sifts key predictions and conveys them in vivid prose.

The Observer

Well-written, captivating, occasionally wry and utterly petrifying

i News

A book that's by turns alarming, terrifying and just downright bleak . . . a sustained piece of informed polemic.

The Evening Standard

Everyone should stop what they're doing and read The Uninhabitable Earth by @dwallacewells. This is our future if we don't act now.

Twitter

'Clear, engaging and often dazzling'

The Telegraph

Wake up! Get educated - The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace Wells is a great place to start.

Vogue

A very accessible and compelling read . . . a much more nuanced and a much more hopeful vision than you might expect.

The Irish Times

Skipping the scientific jargon and relaying the facts in urgent and elegant prose, the magazine editor crafts a stirring wake-up call to recognize how global warming will permanently alter every aspect of human life.

Time

Relentless, angry journalism of the highest order. Read it and, for the lack of any more useful response, weep. . . .The article was a sensation and the book will be, too.

The Sunday Times

If we don't want our grandchildren to curse us, we had better read this book.

The Uninhabitable Earth hits you like a comet, with an overflow of insanely lyrical prose about our pending armageddon.

A lucid and thorough description of our unprecedented crisis, and of the mechanisms of denial with which we seek to avoid its fullest recognition.

Trigger warning: when scientists conclude that yesterday's worst-case scenario for global warming is probably unwarranted optimism, it's time to ask Scotty to beam you up. At least that was my reaction upon finishing Wallace-Wells' brilliant and unsparing analysis of a nightmare that is no longer a distant future but our chaotic, burning present.

Not since Bill McKibben's "The End of Nature" 30 years ago have we been told what climate change will mean in such vivid terms.

The Washington Post

Enough to induce an honest-to-God panic attack ... The margins of my review copy of the book are scrawled with expressions of terror and despair, declining in articulacy as the pages proceed, until it's all just cartoon sad faces and swear words ... To read The Uninhabitable Earth is to understand the collapse of the distinction between alarmism and plain realism

The Guardian

Yes, this book will scare you, but it will also prompt you to take action to ensure the damage we as humans have done to the planet is stopped.

Stylist, 'Your guide to 2019's best non-fiction books'

Most of us known the gist, if not the details, of the climate change crisis. And yet it is almost impossible to sustain strong feelings about it. David Wallace-Wells has now provided the details, and with writing that is not only clear and forceful, but often imaginative and even funny, he has found a way to make the information deeply felt. This is a profound book, which simultaneously makes me terrified and hopeful about the future, full of regret and new will.

Yes, this book will scare you, but it will also prompt you to take action to ensure the damage we as humans have done to the planet is stopped.

Stylist, Your Guide to the Best Books of 2019

If you read just one work of non-fiction this year, it should probably be [this] . . . What this book forces you to face is more important than any other subject you could be informing yourself about.

The Evening Standard

In his gripping new book ... Wallace-Wells shocks us out of complacency'

Prospect

The most terrifying book I have ever read . . . a meticulously documented, white-knuckled tour through the cascading catastrophes that will soon engulf our warming planet.

The New York Times

Riveting . . . Some readers will find Mr Wallace-Wells's outline of possible futures alarmist. He is indeed alarmed. You should be, too.

The Economist

Exceptionally well researched and written. . . . This short, concise book pulls no punches.