Life Coach Magazine

The Uninhabitable Earth

By Xrematon @EleanorCooksey

No, that’s not the title of a sci-fi disaster movie; it’s the title of a book which sets out all the (terrifying) facts about climate change, past, present and all too soon in the future.

Not surprisingly, it wasn’t an enjoyable book, but not just for all the obvious reasons (totally scary and awful and all round just grim), but because I couldn’t see the point of the book. I was already scared about climate change and I didn’t feel my attitudes had changed. And what I wanted was a clear call to action – something to do as a result – but The Uninhabitable Earth was, for me, just depressing facts and descriptions of one super sad event one after another.

Maybe I am sounding too harsh and I should think more clearly about what I got from the book.

I did learn that one of the less obvious consequences of climate change, in particular more CO2 in the atmosphere, is the likely decrease in the nutritional quality of our food. That’s aside from the extreme weather events which could have burnt, flooded or blown away the crops.

I got confirmation that I’m incredibly lucky. I live in a part of the world which is apparently at the optimal average annual temperature for productivity (13C) and not likely to be severely affected climate change (I live on a hill and the UK isn’t likely to have lots of extreme heat, drought, cyclones or other such events). And please note, I don’t take this fortunate position for granted.

The Uninhabitable Earth
The optimal Earth right here in my front garden?

In fact, the relentless drum roll of statistics setting out the horrifying future doesn’t make the future challenge seem more real or believable. Big numbers just wash over you after too many of them. Stories are much more powerful; they bring it home what it feels like to be in the midst of those figures.

And I wanted something which sets out how complex it all is; the interconnection of systems which mean that it can be like wading in treacle to change things for the better. No, not treacle, but like walking on ice where moving to one plac or focusing on one issue causes cracks that others might fall through.

Bangladesh gets mentioned as much of the land is at severe risk of flooding but that’s not the whole picture of what’s going on in this country. There is more than just climate change to factor in. For young women stuck in conservative families in rural parts of the country, escaping to the city to work in garment factories is a major draw. They might not get paid that much but they have an income, much more independence than back in a village and more social interaction. But we don’t like the idea of sweatshop garment factories. So perhaps the factory needs to be shut down. So where do the girls go? Should they go back to their villages and little plots of land which get submerged in all the rains. Ok, it’s not quite that simplistic, but no decision or choice is all good.

So should we just give up? That’s why I wanted a call to action. What’s your response?

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