Great Tide Rising

Finding Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change

Great Tide Rising by Kathleen Dean Moore

Publisher’s Description

Even as seas rise against the shores, another great tide is beginning to rise – a tide of outrage against the pillage of the planet, a tide of commitment to justice and human rights, a swelling affirmation of moral responsibility to the future and to Earth’s fullness of life.

Philosopher and nature essayist Kathleen Dean Moore takes on the essential questions: Why is it wrong to wreck the world? What is our obligation to the future? What is the transformative power of moral resolve? How can clear thinking stand against the lies and illogic that batter the chances for positive change? What are useful answers to the recurring questions of a storm-threatened time – What can anyone do? Is there any hope? And always this: What stories and ideas will lift people who deeply care, inspiring them to move forward with clarity and moral courage?


This book is a culmination of a decade of thinking and speaking about a moral response to the devastation of the planets life supporting systems. By training and profession, I am a philosopher; my work is to think as clearly as I can about humanity’s role on the planet and the moral responsibilities that come from that role. By lineage and inclination, I am a naturalist and nature writer; my work is to celebrate the glorious world – every purple starfish and barnacle – and grieve its disappearance. By choice, and good fortune, I am a mother and a grandmother; my work is to push back against those who would, for the sake of profit, squander it all and leave only a plundered world for those who come next. So this book weaves abstract reflection and felt experience, the way a river weaves its current through stones and sluices. Ideas expressed in philosophical discourse, and experience expressed in personal essays, together tell the story of why I cannot, will not, sit by and watch the world go away.


“No one writes more eloquently  than Kathleen Dean Moore about Earth, its condition and its future. No one thinks more rigorously about how we should live on this battered, beautiful planet, or how we should treat our fellow creatures. Her work helps me to imagine that our species might make it through this evolutionary bottleneck with something resembling civilized values. In a difficult time, I find in these pages a reminder that sanity can be coupled with urgency, celebration with grief. I’m grateful for this book, and glad that others will have the chance to see their lives afresh in the light it radiates.” —  Scott Sanders, author, A Private History of Awe


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