David Wallace-Wells

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David Wallace-Wells
Born1982 (age 41–42)
Alma materBrown University
Notable workThe Uninhabitable Earth

David Wallace-Wells (born 1982)[1] is an American journalist known for his writings on climate change. He wrote the 2017 essay "The Uninhabitable Earth;" the essay was published in New York as a long-form article and was the most-read article in the history of the magazine.[2][3] Wells later expanded the article into a 2019 book of the same title. He is currently an editor-at-large for New York and covers the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic extensively. He was hired in March 2022 by The New York Times to write a weekly newsletter and contribute to The New York Times Magazine.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

David Wallace-Wells was born in 1982[1] in the Bronx, New York and grew up in Riverdale.[5] His maternal grandparents were German Jews who fled Nazi Germany in 1939.[6][7] His father was an academic and his mother worked as a kindergarten teacher in East Harlem.[5]

Wallace-Wells attended the University of Chicago and graduated from Brown University in 2004 with a degree in history.[citation needed]

He is married to Risa Needleman.[8]


Wallace-Wells' work has appeared in New York magazine, where he is an editor-at-large.[9][10] He also writes for The Guardian.[11] He was a 2019 National Fellow at New America.[12] On July 17, 2019, Wallace-Wells appeared on an episode of The Doctor's Farmacy, a video produced by functional medicine practitioner Mark Hyman.[13]

Climate writing[edit]

Since 2017, Wallace-Wells has written extensively about climate change in New York magazine. He has said that he is optimistic about the earth's environmental future, but he remains cautious. He has said that no matter the degree of environmental damage, "it will always be the case that the next decade could contain more warming, and more suffering, or less warming and less suffering."[14]

His best known work is "The Uninhabitable Earth", an article published July 9, 2017 in New York magazine.[15] The essay received mixed to negative criticism from many scientists,[16][17] but was considered an impactful work by some reviewers.[18][19] Wallace-Wells later turned the work into a full-length book of the same name, published in 2019. Both works are characterized by speculation regarding climate change's potential to dramatically impact human life, which Wallace-Wells describes in "meticulous and terrifying detail."[20]

Writing in The Guardian in 2021, Wallace‑Wells argues that the scale of climate change adaptation required globally is unprecedented. Indeed, Wallace‑Wells opines that "the world's vanguard infrastructure is failing in today's climate, which is the most benign we will ever see again".[21]


  • The Uninhabitable Earth. New York: Tim Duggan, 2019. ISBN 9781984826589.[22][23][24]


  1. ^ a b David Wallace-Wells [@dwallacewells] (May 18, 2020). "But, at least for someone of my generation (born 1982)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Mann, Michael; Wallace-Wells, David (November 20, 2017). "The 'Doomed Earth' Controversy" (Interview). Interviewed by Hotz, Robert Lee. Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  3. ^ Miller, Laura (26 July 2017). "What Kind of Novel Do You Write When You Believe Civilization Is Doomed?". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 23 May 2020. 'The Uninhabitable Earth,' the most-read story in New York magazine's history
  4. ^ "David Wallace-Wells Joining Times Opinion and The Times Magazine". The New York Times Company. 2022-03-24. Retrieved 2022-04-11.
  5. ^ a b "Climat : le scénario apocalyptique de David Wallace-Wells". Le Monde.fr (in French). 2019-11-06. Retrieved 2021-12-31.
  6. ^ "Bronx-born 'climate diviner' David Wallace-Wells explains his hyphenated background". blogs.timesofisrael.com. Archived from the original on 2017-07-15. Retrieved 2021-06-27.
  7. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths WALLACE, BERT H. (BERTHOLD WALLACH)". The New York Times. 2005-06-19. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-12-30.
  8. ^ "New York Magazine's Sex Lives Podcast: The Couple That Shares a Toothbrush". www.thecut.com. 19 August 2016. Archived from the original on 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  9. ^ "Most recent articles by David Wallace-Wells". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  10. ^ "On the Cover: What Climate Change Has in Store for Los Angeles". New York Magazine. 13 May 2019. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  11. ^ Haskell, David George (2019-02-17). "The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future by David Wallace-Wells – review". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  12. ^ "David Wallace-Wells". New America. Retrieved 2019-05-25.
  13. ^ Hyman, Mark, Why Climate Change is Worse Than You Think, The Doctor's Farmacy, Episode 63, July 17, 2019
  14. ^ Wallace-Wells, David (2019-02-04). "The Cautious Case for Climate Optimism (From a Climate Alarmist)". Intelligencer. Retrieved 2019-05-25.
  15. ^ Wallace-Wells, David (July 10, 2017). "The Uninhabitable Earth". New York Magazine. Archived from the original on 2018-10-11.
  16. ^ "Scientists explain what New York Magazine article on "The Uninhabitable Earth" gets wrong". Climate Feedback. 2017-07-12. Retrieved 2019-09-07.
  17. ^ "Scientists challenge magazine story about 'uninhabitable Earth'". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-12-31.
  18. ^ Illing, Sean (Feb 24, 2019). "It is absolutely time to panic about climate change". Vox. Archived from the original on 2019-02-22.
  19. ^ Drum, Kevin. "Our approach to climate change isn't working. Let's try something else". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2021-12-31.
  20. ^ Szalai, Jennifer (2019-03-06). "In 'The Uninhabitable Earth,' Apocalypse Is Now". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-12-31.
  21. ^ Wallace-Wells, David (1 August 2021). "Adapt or die. That is the stark challenge to living in the new world we have made". The Guardian. London, United Kingdom. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  22. ^ "Can David Wallace-Wells Scare Us Into Addressing Climate Change?". Slate Magazine. 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  23. ^ Kiser, Barbara (2019-02-13). "The shadow side of sport, cosmic cataclysms, and human culture underground: Books in brief". Nature. 566 (7743): 179. Bibcode:2019Natur.566..179K. doi:10.1038/d41586-019-00520-3. S2CID 61156470.
  24. ^ "'Uninhabitable Earth' Spotlights 3 Climate Change Misunderstandings". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019-02-19.

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