David Wallace-Wells is deputy editor at New York magazine and the author of the number 1 New York Times best-seller The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, published in 2019, which explores both the terrifying speed and scope of climate change and its likely transformation of politics and culture, economics and technology. The Times called it both “brilliant” and “the most terrifying book I have ever read," the Washington Post called it "this generation's Silent Spring," the Economist called it "riveting," and the Guardian called it "an epoch-defining book."
David joined New York magazine as literary editor in 2011, became features director in 2016 and deputy editor in 2017. He writes regularly for the magazine about science and the near future, including his 2017 cover story on worst-case scenarios for climate change (which quickly became the most widely read story the magazine had ever published) and his regular column on global warming and its humanitarian impacts. He is a national fellow of the New America foundation and lives in Manhattan with his wife and daughter.
Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan
It is worse, much worse, than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible—food shortages, refugee emergencies, climate wars and economic devastation.
An “epoch-defining book” (The Guardian) and “this generation’s Silent Spring” (The Washington Post), The Uninhabitable Earth is both a travelogue of the near future and a meditation on how that future will look to those living through it—the ways that warming promises to transform global politics, the meaning of technology and nature in the modern world, the sustainability of capitalism and the trajectory of human progress.
The Uninhabitable Earth is also an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation—today’s.