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The Sunday Read: ‘This Isn’t the California I Married’

Elizabeth Weil, the author of today’s Sunday Read, writes that, in her marriage, there was a silent third spouse: California.

“The state was dramatic and a handful,” Weil writes. “But she was gorgeous, and she brought into our lives, through the natural world, all the treasure and magic we’d need.”

However, for Weil, there is internal conflict living in a state where wildfires have become the norm. She describes living through a discontinuity in which previously held logic fails to stand up to reality.

Today, Weil analyzes the sources of California’s crisis — from the impact of colonization and the systemic erasure of Indigenous practices to the significant loss of fire-management practices and critical dryness caused by global warming.

In California, as in much of the world, climate anxiety and climate futurism coalesce into trans-apocalyptic pessimism. But, in spite of the doom, Weil suggests the situation is not completely devoid of hope.


Additional production for The Sunday Read was contributed by Emma Kehlbeck, Parin Behrooz, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Jack D’Isidoro, Elena Hecht, Desiree Ibekwe, Tanya Pérez, Marion Lozano, Naomi Noury, Krish Seenivasan, Corey Schreppel, Margaret Willison, Kate Winslett and Tiana Young. Special thanks to Mike Benoist, Sam Dolnick, Laura Kim, Julia Simon, Lisa Tobin, Blake Wilson and Ryan Wegner.

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