New book: Moral Ground

Posted by Christine, November 8, 2010
Kathleen Dean Moore was a speaker at the Society of Environmental Journalists’ recent annual conference in Missoula, Montana.  She joined authors David James Duncan and William Kittredge at the Sunday morning Breakfast with the Authors. Her new book, edited with Michael P. Nelson, focuses on the moral aspects of climate change. The authors have collected thoughtful essays from spiritual leaders on the question: Do we have a moral obligation to take action to protect the future of a planet in peril?
Answers are organized into sections on: For the survival of mankind; for the sake of the children; for the sake of the Earth itself; for the sake of all forms of life on the planet; to honor our duties of gratitude and reciprocity; for the full expression of human virtue; because all flourishing is mutual; for the stewardship of God’s creation; because compassion requires it; because justic demands it; because the world is beautiful; because we love the world; to honor and celebrate the Earth and Earth systems; because our moral integrity requires us to do what is right.
The publishers’ description reads:
Moral Ground brings together the testimony of over eighty visionaries—theologians and religious leaders, scientists, elected officials, business leaders, naturalists, activists, and writers—to present a diverse and compelling call to honor our individual and collective moral responsibility to our planet. In the face of environmental degradation and global climate change, scientific knowledge alone does not tell us what we ought to do. The missing premise of the argument and much-needed center piece in the debate to date has been the need for ethical values, moral guidance, and principled reasons for doing the right thing for our planet, its animals, its plants, and its people.

Contributors from throughout the world (including North America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe) bring forth a rich variety of heritages and perspectives. Their contributions take many forms, illustrating the rich variety of ways we express our moral beliefs in letters, poems, economic analyses, proclamations, essays, and stories. In the end, their voices affirm why we must move beyond a scientific study and response to embrace an ongoing model of repair and sustainability. These writings demonstrate that scientific analysis and moral conviction can work successfully side-by-side.

This is a book that can speak to anyone, regardless of his or her worldview, and that also includes a section devoted to “what next” thinking that helps the reader put the words and ideas into action in their personal lives. Thanks to generous support from numerous landmark organizations, such as the Kendeda Fund and Germeshausen Foundation, the book is just the starting point for a national, and international, discussion that will be carried out in a variety of ways, from online debate to “town hall” meetings, from essay competitions for youth to sermons from pulpits in all denominations. The “Moral Ground movement” will result in a newly discovered, or rediscovered, commitment on a personal and community level to consensus about our ethical obligation to the future.

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