Gothic, Colorado is the setting of Hope on Earth a conversation between environmental scientist Paul R. Ehrlich and Michael Charles Tobias. Butterflies, chickens, Jains, gorillas, circumcision, Kant, gun control, China, abortion, and vegetarianism are just some of the topics covered by their conversation. Their dialogue is both thought provoking and easy to read, and Hope on Earth would make a great read for people who are interested in the complexities of climate change but don't want to struggle through an academic-style book.
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.