You may have seen David Wallace-Wells’ New York Magazine article titled, “The Uninhabitable Earth.”
It’s a scary article with frightful truths circulating on social media.
Half truths according to Michael E. Mann, director of Earth System Science Center at Penn State. Mann wrote on Facebook:
Since this New York Magazine article (“The Uninhabitable Earth”) is getting so much play this morning, I figured I should comment on it, especially as I was interviewed by the author (though not quoted or mentioned).
I have to say that I am not a fan of this sort of doomist framing. It is important to be up front about the risks of unmitigated climate change, and I frequently criticize those who understate the risks. But there is also a danger in overstating the science in a way that presents the problem as unsolvable, and feeds a sense of doom, inevitability and hopelessness.
The article argues that climate change will render the Earth uninhabitable by the end of this century. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The article fails to produce it.
Read Mann’s full take-down here.
If we are clicking on New York Magazine for our information about the threats of climate change then now, more than ever, it’s clear mental health care is needed in whatever healthcare bill Congress passes this year.
Taking action on climate (or anything else) based on fear would be as scary as Wallace-Wells’ article.
On Sunday, Al Gore was in the news about his climate work.
“Those who feel despair should be of good cheer as the Bible says,” Gore told Lee Cowan of CBS News. “Have faith, have hope. We are going to win this.”
The need to act on climate is all around us according to Gore.
“It’s no longer just the virtually unanimous scientific community telling us we’ve got to change,” he said. “Now Mother Nature has entered the debate. Every night now on the television news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation. People who don’t want to use the phrase ‘global warming’ or ‘climate crisis’ are saying, ‘Wait a minute. Something’s going on here that’s not right.'”
Gore is right. Don’t despair. Act on climate.
If you don’t know what to do, The Climate Reality Project provides an action kit to get you started. Click here to find it.