Great Tide Rising: Towards Clarity and Moral Courage in a time of Planetary Change
Kathleen Dean Moore
I’m writing this review in the hopes that it might actually motivate someone to read this book. It’s on the same caliber as Joanna Macy’s work. Kathleen turns out to be another really good friend that you are so glad you met so please do make the effort to meet her.
She is comforting in her beautiful nature writing vignettes that give breathing room between her intense doses of clarity, which is what the title promises. She is one of us and is more than. I so enjoyed the trip through her brain and its thoughtful, knowledgeable progression of logic. Her perceptions give voice to much that many of us may have felt but not expressed and she does this with love and eloquence. Certainly there is anger and despair; I love that she occasionally cusses, but she keeps going to get to a realistic, useful resting place of thought and a solid springboard for action.
Kathleen lays the responsibility of our current situation at the feet of the fossil fuel industry and calls their business plan ‘a moral monstrosity on a cosmic scale’. She says we can’t help but be complicit in this and that our fear of being seen as hypocrites is immobilizing and probably the biggest reason for public silence on climate change.
She talks about the traditional deniers, those that state their denial due to loyalty, economic self-interest or political strategy. They attack the science of climate change and thus take the risk of looking stupid or stubborn. But it avoids the truth that by supporting denial they are morally reprehensible. She goes on to talk about the new deniers that deny that action can help and that the odds against preventing business as usual are so overwhelming all efforts are useless. She argues otherwise.
Kathleen also argues against adaptation and states we should be using all our efforts toward mitigation. She calls on scientists to live up to their responsibility to speak out in ways that prompt healthy social change and that to do any less is an abdication of one’s responsibility as a scientist who is entrusted with the truth.
Her pages are filled with humor and surprise. They are also filled with a call for a new set of ethics, of what it means to be smart and happy, how we need courageous, relentless citizenship to change the ‘dysfunctional values married to catastrophic leadership’. When asked ‘What can one person do?’ she responds by saying ‘stop being one person’, become part of a community of caring. She discusses creative disruption and includes art, investigative journalism and direct action among her examples. To her, civil disobedience is an act of love.
I hope this whets your appetite for more. Please let me know if you read it or want to be part of a discussion group as you read it. Reading this book is like having a life coach that understands, explains, encourages and expects.
– Cathy Strickler, founder, Climate Action Alliance of the Valley
cathystrickler4 [at] gmail.com