David Wallace-Wells’s alarming cover story in New York Magazine this week, “The Uninhabitable Earth,” details just how bad our lives could get due to climate change — much sooner than we ever thought possible, says Susan Matthews. In fact, Matthews argues, although the piece has been criticized for being too alarmist, its global-warming horror story isn’t scary enough.
“The instantly viral piece might be the Silent Spring of our time, except it doesn’t uncover shocking new information — it just collects all the terrifying things that were already sitting out there into one extremely terrifying list,” notes Matthews.
Wallace-Wells goes on to list all the “known science and stats that explain why rising seas, the focus of most of our climate panic, are just the tip of the iceberg—disease, famine, economic panic, and civil unrest are coming, too,” says Matthews. But as Wallace-Wells and Matthews point out, the heat is going to “turn up so high” that we will eventually have to do something about it. However, some of us—those of us who are most vulnerable and least wealthy—will certainly suffer more than others.