Losing Earth by Nathaniel Rich [9/10]

Novelist and top-notch journalist Nathaniel Rich has opened my eyes, completely altering my understanding of the history of climate change. “Losing Earth: A Recent History” relates the barely believable tale of how scientists already understood in 1979 (hey, let’s be clear, we’re talking about four decades ago!) exactly what global warming is and what the eventual consequences must be. What’s more, in the United States, a bipartisan decade of hearings, legislative efforts, and general discussions took place through the reigns of Carter and Reagan. Only when the oil industry turned its beady eye on the issue did partisanship and disinformation swing into action, and in 1989 Bush senior started the tradition of resisting international and national corrective action. Originally published in the New York Times Magazine, Rich’s wonderfully written and meticulous history not only puts climate change into the correct historical framework, but he includes a stunning afterword, a call to action that exhorts: “But there is one thing that each of us can do ourselves … We can call the villains the villains, the heroes heroes, the victims victims, and ourselves complicit.” This book makes for essential reading.

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