The Fragile Earth: Writing from The New Yorker on Climate Change

Ecco: HarperCollins. Oct. 2020. 560p. ISBN 9780063017542. $29.99. SCI
This collection brings together three decades of New Yorker essays about climate change, 21 in all. Arranged into broad themes around what caused the current crisis, what effects are we seeing, and what solutions are offered, the book manages to avoid some potential pitfalls of topical anthologies: repetitiveness of content or tone and unevenness of quality. The “global” in global climate change means that possible subjects are wide-ranging both geographically and in potential ramifications to explore, and editor Remmick chooses well to represent this variety. Bill McKibben (The End of Nature) and his successor Elizabeth Kolbert (The Sixth Extinction) are represented by multiple articles each, including those that formed the basis of their bestselling books. Virtually all of the selections are similarly immersive and engaging; only Jonathan Franzen’s autobiographical contribution seems tonally out of place. Reading three decades of essays on this important and urgent topic, one is appalled that we know so much and have repeatedly done so little with that knowledge, as well as simultaneously hopeful and skeptical that technological solutions can save us now.
VERDICT A well-selected collection of reportage and reflection that will find a place on the bookshelves of all interested in environmental history.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing