Ecology

Move Always Toward a Deepening Obscurity

Move Always Toward a Deepening Obscurity

“Think like a mountain” is a very tall order

Lost causes, anachronisms: the theme of my life. Born to a small family farm, just before the death of the small family farm. Student and practitioner of print journalism, just before the demise of print journalism. Writer of books at a time when attention spans are being eroded in the acid bath of social media. Now: fire lookout. I sometimes try to imagine what’s next. Taxi driver? Typewriter repairman?

Enduring the Ending of the World

Enduring the Ending of the World

On Australia’s climate crisis

To those living in nations not yet consumed by fire, flood, or frost, we can report that for the most part, life seems to go on pretty much as it always has. There are some slight adjustments to be made. The morning routine now begins by checking the news to see which of the hundred or so fires raging out of control across the coast have joined forces to become super-fires, and which of these super-fires have united to become mega-fires.

Irreversible Shift

Irreversible Shift

This should be a single-issue election

Is it any wonder that in a century dominated by surveillance, paranoia, terrorism, rendition, financial collapse and hard borders our language has retreated? Our reality, for years now, has been of individual survival under austerity; the erasure of the public in a city of stagnating wages that in eight years lost half its youth centers and half its nightclubs and saw them replaced with sterile glass towers. One by one London’s houses, monuments, newspapers, and artworks are being eaten up by the searching, liquid capital of Indian steel tycoons and Arab petrolords and Russian disaster capitalists. Of course the language has stopped growing: where are we even supposed to talk to each other now?

Extraction Rebellion

Extraction Rebellion

A Green Zone of hope

Vast stretches of earth, once rich with vegetation and wildlife, are now barren. Running cracks fragment sun-hardened dirt for hundreds of miles. Increasingly severe dust storms and triple-digit temperatures routinely consume the cities and towns that remain. Electricity is scarce; there are no working fans, air filters, or air conditioners. Water, when available, is often contaminated, but still ingested regularly despite the risks.

Eating the Frog

Eating the Frog

David Wallace-Wells’s new book is one of the few honest accounts of the costs, both tangible and metaphorical, of global warming.

David Wallace-Wells’s new book, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, reads at once as an innovative look at manmade climate change and also as old news. As Wallace-Wells himself states at points, not much in his book is new. Even the scariest near-term predictions and assessments, like the possibility that “should the planet warm 3.7 degrees . . . climate change damages could total $551 trillion—nearly twice as much wealth as exists in the world today,” or that, at the upper-end of temperature predictions for the end of this century, “humans at the equator and in the tropics would not be able to move around without dying” have been accessible to the general public online or in academic articles and assessments. What is new is the candor of the narrative and relative impassivity with which Wallace-Wells, a career journalist, elucidates the distressing implications of the facts that he reports.