The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

by David Wallace- Wells

I will be honest and state it here that i read 2/3 of the book and quit. I should have done so much earlier but you all know what sunk costs mean.

You might ask why I didn’t finish? Well, first I think the book has the wrong title. It should be the Uninhabitable California. In the first section of the book California gets more treatment than the whole continent of Africa. You might call me petty, but I have come to find books that pretend to deal with global issues while treating Africa as a footnote impossible to read. I can’t. I am African and Africa is in me. When David mentions the coastal cities that are threatened with ocean flooding, he can’t find any such coast in Africa. Well, he mentions Asia a bit, maybe because they are so many there but that’s just it.

I found the book too alarmist. I don’t deny the reality of climate change. But the picture Wallace paints is one such that one would be tempted to say why do anything when 2100 looks like the final chapter to the earth as we know. We can wait for 2100 and act from there, that is if those who will survive flooding and heat will act together to avoid human extinction.

His long sentences almost killed me. Sometimes you even get lost in a sentence.

The point he makes that I agree with is that the countries that have not polluted as much will unfortunately bear the greatest burden of climate change while at the same time being unable or unprepared to cope with the challenges. If the earth heats up by say 1 or 2 degrees, places that are already hot are likely to get hotter, heat waves in summers may increase and such which are matters of real concern.

He also makes the point, which i think is reasonable that individual action is insufficient in the challenge we face. To address any human caused climate calamities, we have to do it collectively- politically. And banning single use plastics-straws and all- is a commendable effort, it does little to nothing in ameliorating global warming- human caused or otherwise.

Does the book advance scholarship on climate science? I think not. In fact, I don’t think it helps much in moving the discussion about climate change by being too alarmist. It’s almost a put off.

He is right on some other thing. Our forefathers left almost no mark on the earth. The period we call pre-history is much longer than the duration we have been around. Let’s all hope that this is not the end of history as Fukuyama claimed. I don’t want this to be the end of history. You see, Hegel, that renowned thinker said Africa had no history or something to that effect and I don’t think Fukuyama’s end of history has Africa as a chapter- maybe as a footnote. SO you see, this is personal. I want time, long enough time, for Africa to have history.

Maybe some of you who have read the book have a different feeling and I would love to hear your thoughts on the book.

Happy weekend friends. Enemies also.

Examining the ultimate solution to climate change

My erudite friend, Bob has asked us to join him in imagining a solution for one of the earth’s great challenge, anthropogenic climate change.

My first critique is he skirts around identification of the problem by its real name, GREED. The problem this ruler is to address is simply that of greed. All the problems of globalization have their source in greed, an insatiable longing for excesses. It explains why we have bad books, badly done movies, it explains why people by iPhones each year when the old one is still functional. I can go on, but you get the drift.

In his analysis, he has limited himself. Capitalism can be replaced. Or it can be modified. This has been attempted before. We can attempt socialism. We have many options open to us, but only if we dare to imagine.

What are the possible solutions?

  1. As the person tasked with solving the problem, instead of eliminating the undesirables such as the radicals, I would eliminate everyone else and keep the radicals. This would be a radical solution. The only reason I reject it is it places a big moral burden on the leadership. Who do they get to do the elimination work? What does a society of murderers look like? Who would want such a society?
  2. We both agree on rejection of a nuclear war. We are not interested in destroying other flora and fauna
  3. A deadly pandemic, as long as it doesn’t kill others beasts seems just fine as long as it is deployed everywhere. How do you live with yourself seeing people going through unbearable pain? How do you deal with the trauma for those left behind after seeing so many dead folk, some who were friends, lovers, families or enemies?
  4. A one child policy looks like a good idea. It’s a long-term solution. Reduce population growth. Reduce demand for natural resources and maybe contribute towards specie extinction. This solution reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut’s 2 B R 0 2 B.
  5. Famine unless it affects everyone would make your position untenable. Blaming global warming will not help you. There will be an overthrow of the government.

What is the plan?

My friend believes famine is the best way and that we should centralize farming. But this is part of the problem. Commercial farming is greed driven. In fact, the problem of exponential population growth is a function of industrialization. So instead of commercial farming, go back to subsistence farming. Produce only what you need. Stop all commercial farming, fishing or whatever. With time, you will check on depletion of resources, the earth will begin to recover, the need to cut down forests for farmland will reduce, marine life will be spared.

There is no free market capitalism. It is monopoly by a few companies. By removing commercial interests from play and adopting some of the suggestions of Lycurgus, we will reduce greed, relieve the earth of pressure caused by demand for resources and maybe save the species.

Capitalism should die and the sooner that death occurs, the better for everyone.

In other news, I am unable to write here as much as I did before. It is not mind block. I am in the process of imagining new content for the blog