An impassioned and well-reasoned cry for “great rising tides of affirmation of justice and human decency and shared...

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GREAT TIDE RISING

TOWARDS CLARITY AND MORAL COURAGE IN A TIME OF PLANETARY CHANGE

A philosopher and award-winning nature writer examines the moral arguments behind the need to end the processes that have created global warming.  

Moore (Philosophy/Oregon State Univ.; Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature, 2010, etc.) examines why it is unethical to permit the pillaging of the Earth’s resources and why people should take action to end further environmental degradation. She presents “Thirteen Good Reasons to Save the World” and then, in the essays that follow, elaborates on those she finds the most compelling. Humanity must save the Earth for future generations to enjoy, she writes, and the world is too miraculous to destroy. But most importantly of all, to allow further destruction violates the most basic human rights to “life, liberty, and security of person.” Human beings must learn to see the magnificence of the world and every living thing in it. At the same time, they must let the beauty of nature inspire a love that is so “elemental and fierce” that it gives rise to a determination not to let the planet die without a fight. As Moore points out, by 2060, it’s likely that “half of the Earth’s species will have gone extinct.” Speaking out about patterns of acceptance and denial that exist in personal and collective attitudes toward the reality of climate change is also imperative. Humans may be able to adapt—for a time—to the damaged world we are creating, but, writes the author, “the single-minded focus on accommodation to climate change…is a moral failure” because it makes no allowances for the open, multifaceted discourse that could improve a dangerous situation for the greater good. In this probing and lyrical book, Moore reminds readers of the interrelatedness of all living things through time, and she offers a clarion call to summon the moral courage to “rage against the dying” of the Earth.

An impassioned and well-reasoned cry for “great rising tides of affirmation of justice and human decency and shared thriving.”

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61902-699-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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Whether you call this a personal story or nature writing, it’s poignant, thoughtful and moving—and likely to become a...

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H IS FOR HAWK

An inspired, beautiful and absorbing account of a woman battling grief—with a goshawk.

Following the sudden death of her father, Macdonald (History and Philosophy/Cambridge Univ.; Falcon, 2006, etc.) tried staving off deep depression with a unique form of personal therapy: the purchase and training of an English goshawk, which she named Mabel. Although a trained falconer, the author chose a raptor both unfamiliar and unpredictable, a creature of mad confidence that became a means of working against madness. “The hawk was everything I wanted to be: solitary, self-possessed, free from grief, and numb to the hurts of human life,” she writes. As a devotee of birds of prey since girlhood, Macdonald knew the legends and the literature, particularly the cautionary example of The Once and Future King author T.H. White, whose 1951 book The Goshawk details his own painful battle to master his title subject. Macdonald dramatically parallels her own story with White’s, achieving a remarkable imaginative sympathy with the writer, a lonely, tormented homosexual fighting his own sadomasochistic demons. Even as she was learning from White’s mistakes, she found herself very much in his shoes, watching her life fall apart as the painfully slow bonding process with Mabel took over. Just how much do animals and humans have in common? The more Macdonald got to know her, the more Mabel confounded her notions about what the species was supposed to represent. Is a hawk a symbol of might or independence, or is that just our attempt to remake the animal world in our own image? Writing with breathless urgency that only rarely skirts the melodramatic, Macdonald broadens her scope well beyond herself to focus on the antagonism between people and the environment.

Whether you call this a personal story or nature writing, it’s poignant, thoughtful and moving—and likely to become a classic in either genre.

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0802123411

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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