Nathaniel Rich has driven much of the summer’s national conversation on climate change with his blockbuster New York Times Magazine piece, “Losing Earth.” Sprawling over more than 66 pages and drawing on more than 18 months of research, Rich tackles the failure of efforts 30 years ago to tackle global warming.
It’s masterful as a piece of storytelling, but Rich’s narrative centers on the unheeded warnings of a small, elite group of scientists and activists. As a result, he misses crucial context and ultimately draws deeply flawed conclusions. And those shortcomings could have serious implications for efforts currently underway to address the still ongoing climate crisis.
What Rich left out is that the mainstream environmental movement – the ecosystem of big green organizations and funders – consistently excluded and failed to provide resources to organizations representing those most vulnerable to climate change: communities of color and low-income communities.
“There can be no understanding of our current and future predicament,” Rich writes, “without understanding why we failed to solve this problem when we had the chance.... Read more