Hope on Earth is the thought-provoking result of a lively and wide-ranging conversation between two of the world's leading interdisciplinary environmental scientists: Paul R. Ehrlich, whose book The Population Bomb shook the world in 1968 (and continues to shake it), and Michael Charles Tobias, whose over 40 books and 150 films have been read and/or viewed throughout the world. Hope on Earth offers a rare opportunity to listen in as these deeply knowledgeable and highly creative thinkers offer their takes on the most pressing environmental concerns of the moment.
Both Ehrlich and Tobias argue that we are on the verge of environmental catastrophe, as the human population continues to grow without restraint and without significant attempts to deal with overconsumption and the vast depletion of resources and climate problems it creates. Though their views are sympathetic, they differ in their approach and in some key moral stances, giving rise to a heated and engaging dialogue that opens up dozens of new avenues of exploration. They both believe that the impact of a human society on its environment is the direct result of its population size, and through their dialogue they break down the complex social problems that are wrapped up in this idea and attempts to overcome it, hitting firmly upon many controversial topics such as circumcision, religion, reproduction, abortion, animal rights, diet, and gun control. For Ehrlich and Tobias, ethics involve not only how we treat other people directly, but how we treat them and other organisms indirectly through our effects on the environment. University of California, Berkeley professor John Harte joins the duo for part of the conversation, and his substantial expertise on energy and climate change adds a crucial perspective to the discussion of the impact of population on global warming.
This engaging and timely book invites readers into an intimate conversation with some of the most eminent voices in science as they offer a powerful and approachable argument that the ethical and scientific issues involved in solving our environmental crisis are deeply intertwined, while offering us an optimistic way forward. Hope on Earth is indeed a conversation we should all be having.
The Choices We Make: Moving Forward in Spite of Contradictions
Getting One’s Priorities Right: You Owe It to Yourself
The Biological Future: Climate Change in the Rockies
The Euphydryas Questions
The Lessons of Acorns: Change is Ubiquitous
Appendix: Essential Points for Policy Makers
"This book, about the state of the world, takes the form of a dialogue between two eloquent writers, Ehrlich and Tobias. Why read a dialogue, instead of the usual book written from beginning to end by one author? The Greek philosopher Plato figured out the answer over 2000 years ago: a dialogue can be much more exciting than a monologue, because it offers the human interest of a conversation, and it offers two rather than just one point of view. Whether or not you think that you already understand the state of the world, you'll enjoy and learn from this vivid dialogue."
- Jared Diamond, author of The World Until Yesterday
"More rare than Coelacanths embracing, these two giants in their fields, Ehrlich and Tobias, intertwine and entertain with their discourse on the future of our world and incredibly they offer us hope."
- William Shatner
"Authored by two fine thinkers – practical ecologists and eloquent writers – this clever book shakes us with the discomforting view of how human hands are pushing the planet down the plughole, but ends up lifting us from the gloom and doom. These are eloquent arguments, beautifully written, that show a way through the minefield to a quiet, unspoiled, or reclaimed place of beauty: the Earth as it should be, once was, and can be again."
- Ingrid Newkirk, president, PETA
"Tobias and Ehrlich are master teachers giving all seven billion of us a well-reasoned warning for what lies ahead. While their science is flawless and persuasive, their message is delivered with serenity and common sense. This is a book that will be especially effective for our oblivious young who will be saddled with the mistakes of the past. It is going to all seven of my children!"
- Graham Arader
"Exhilarating! With minds ablaze, Ehrlich and Tobias begin to talk, and right away they disagree. Roaming through wilds of philosophy, history, culture, politics, religion, and science, they debate the fate of the earth. Filled with ideas, insight and personality, Hope on Earth is a joy ride for the mind."
- Karole Armitage, artistic director of Armitage Gone! Dance Company
"Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during the meeting between these two environmental giants that took place during a couple of days at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. For dedicated environmentalists, this book is the next best thing [...] A brilliant, absorbing, and timely discussion of the most pressing issues of the day conducted by two of the world's foremost environmental experts."