September 30, 2018

Guest Speaker: Dr. Kathleen Moore

Cover: Cover photo taken by John Shuck of Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska, June, 2017.

Music: Southminster Handbell Choir:
Holy, Holy, Holy, by Helman
Solid Rock, by Bradbury and Lamb

Blue Boat Home
Touch the Earth Lightly

Dr. Kathleen Dean Moore is our guest preacher. Her book, Great Tide Rising: Finding Clarity and Moral Courage to Confront Climate Change, was our Southminster Reads selection.

Kathleen Dean Moore is a writer, moral philosopher, and environmental thought-leader, devoted to an unrelenting defense of the future against those who would pillage and wreck the planet.

As a writer, Kathleen is best known for award-winning books of essays that celebrate and explore the meaning of the wet, wild world of rivers, islands, and tidal shores – Riverwalking, Holdfast, Pine Island Paradox, and Wild Comfort. But her growing alarm at the devastation of the natural world led her to focus her writing on the moral urgency of action against climate change and habitat destruction. Quitting her university position, Kathleen began to write in defense of the lovely, reeling world.

A moral philosopher, Kathleen holds a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. For many years, she taught critical thinking and environmental ethics as Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University. She has published philosophical books on forgiveness (Pardons: Justice, Mercy, and the Public Interest), Apache philosophy (How It Is: the Native American Philosophy of Viola Cordova), Rachel Carson (Rachel Carson: Legacy and Challenge), and critical thinking (Reasoning and Writing). While at OSU, she co-founded and for many years directed the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, where she now serves as Senior Fellow.

Two years ago, Moore left the University in order to write and speak full-time about the moral urgency of action to stop fossil fuels and the consequent global warming. She has addressed audiences ranging from activists to Nobel Conference scholars to Disneyworld executives and students all over the country — Alaska to Texas, New York to California — calling people to clarity and moral courage as they confront the forces that would wreck the world. Her new project, “A Call to Life: Variations on a Theme of Extinction,” is a collaboration with classical pianist Rachelle McCabe.

Kathleen is embedded in a family of environmentalists and biologists. Her parents were science educators who led nature walks in the beech-maple forests in Ohio. Her husband, Frank, a neurobiologist, is an expert on amphibian behavior. Her daughter, Erin, is an architecture professor at the University of Oregon, specializing in green construction. Her son, Jonathan, is a professor of coastal studies at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Kathleen and her husband live in Corvallis, Oregon, and in the summers, in a cabin where two creeks and a bear trail meet a tidal cove in Alaska’s maritime wilderness.

John Shuck also interviewed for Progressive Spirit.

Here’s what I have learned from experience: It’s hard to talk about climate change. People don’t want to hear it. They turn away—in guilt, in exasperation, in hopelessness, in fear, in despair for their children, in reluctance to make any changes in their lives, in embarrassment to see me acting like a kook, who knows? But for everyone who turns away, there is another who is relieved to finally be able to talk about what she has been holding in her heart, a secret that can finally be told. “Yes, I too am worried about climate change; what shall we do?”

….It should not be possible to walk into church without getting seeds in your socks.
–Kathleen Dean Moore, Great Tide Rising

To Love Kathleen Dean Moore
To love–a place or person–means at least this:
To want to be near it, physically.
To want to know everything about it—its story, its moods, what it looks like by moonlight.
To rejoice in the fact of it.
To be transformed in its presence—lifted, lighter on your feet, transparent, open to everything beautiful and new.
To want to be joined with it, taken in by it, lost in it.
To fear its loss and grieve for its injuries.
To protect it—fiercely, mindlessly, futilely, and maybe tragically, but to be helpless to do otherwise.
To press your lips against it, to taste it, to close your eyes and feel it gratefully and fully.

The Great Turning Joanna Macy

The Great Turning is a name for the essential adventure of our time: the shift from the Industrial Growth Society to a life-sustaining civilization….A revolution is under way because people are realizing that our needs can be met without destroying our world….Future generations, if there is a livable world for them, will look back at the epochal transition we are making to a life-sustaining society. And they may well call this the time of the Great Turning. It is happening now.

Whether or not it is recognized by corporate-controlled media, the Great Turning is a reality. Although we cannot know yet if it will take hold in time for humans and other complex life forms to survive, we can know that it is under way. And it is gaining momentum, through the actions of countless individuals and groups around the world. To see this as the larger context of our lives clears our vision and summons our courage.

An Oath for the Wild Things Kathleen Dean Moore
1. I will not buy poisons or introduce them in any way into the world. Nor will I buy food that has been sprayed with poisons.

2. I will not destroy unspoiled habitats—not building a house on unspoiled land, tearing out a meadow for a lawn, or plowing a grassland for crops.

3. I will not step foot in a Kmart, Walmart, house, or any other building that was constructed on the recently bulldozed remains of what previously was a native habitat.

4. I will not refrain from loudly guffawing when someone says it is possible to mitigate the destruction of a natural place by creating a new one.

5. I will not own an outdoor cat and I will not be afraid to badger my neighbors about theirs, knowing that domestic cats are the leading cause of death of birds and mammals in the United States.

6. I will not be stingy about giving my support, my money, my time, and my vote to those who create natural reserves—marine reserves, wildfowl reserves, wilderness reserves, public land trusts, urban wilderness parks, and other places where animals can thrive.

7. I will not buy products created by destroying tropical or temperate rain forests—not coffee, not tea, not fine wood, not toilet paper, no cedar shingles or two-by-fours or hamburgers. Nor will I buy fish or other wild creatures that are not sustainably harvested.

8. I will not invest in companies that profit from death and deceit. Let’s see: ExxonMobil, BP, Halliburton, Monsanto, Coca-Cola. Perdition, the list is long!

9. I will not oppose subsistence hunting or other respectful hunting of abundant species for food, but I will howl about trophy hunting, plinking, or any other destruction of animals for “sport,” “fun,” “father-son bonding,” or any other grotesquerie.

10. I will not plant exotic species in my garden—none of the holly and the ivy, no Scotch broom. The land I have title to, city or country, will be native habitat for wild creatures, even I have to plant it myself.

11. I will not take more than I need from nature’s bounty, understanding that what I take is taken from some other creature that has an equal claim to the conditions for life.

12. I will not pretend that a person can be an upright citizen who kills wild creatures in the course of his business, or causes them to be killed, or profits from the destruction of their habitat.

13. I will not allow my church to destroy the divine creations that it celebrates inside the walls. It’s time for a new sanctuary movement that transforms the sweeping lawns of churches into true places of safety, bursting with birdsong, protected forever from bulldozers. It should not be possible to walk into church without getting seeds in your socks.

14. I will not worry about being a sanctimonious pain in the butt. I wouldn’t worry one minute about trading a friendship for the ongoing existence of meadowlarks. Someone has to take a public stand, and if that makes other people feel guilty, maybe it’s about time.

John 18:37
[Jesus said],
To this end was I born,
and for this cause came I into the world,
that I should bear witness unto the truth.