Lectures, Performances, and Workshops

Kathleen Dean Moore is a philosopher, environmental advocate, and award-winning essayist, the author of books about our cultural and moral relation to the natural world - among them, Riverwalking, Holdfast, Pine Island Paradox, and Wild Comfort. In recent years, her life's work has become an all-out effort to help avert the worst consequences of climate change. With the publication of her co-edited book, Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril and her new book, Great Tide Rising: Toward Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change, she left her university position and began to speak across the country about the moral urgency of stopping the carbon catastrophe.

"Take Emmylou Harris's angelic/haunting voice and merge it with Bill McKibben's edgy, intelligent activism, and you have some idea of what Moore is doing...She's good medicine, and we can all use a regular dose of that." - BK Loren in VELA.

"Powerfully beautiful/beautifully powerful words." - Rebecca Wolle, teacher

"There's something so special about your presentations -- your personal warmth, your moral forthrightness, the sharp clarity of your thinking, the clear options you lay out... -- that it's little wonder people love you so much, and find your ideas so accessible and palatable. Now we just have to act on them." - Tom Kerns, Director, Environment and Human Rights Advisory

"Spectacular presentation; it was life-changing." -- Cathy Mutschler, Community Foundation of Fox Valley

Kathleen is now booking dates for 2016. If you are interested in inviting her to speak in your community, please contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Here is full information about her currently most popular events:

1. PUBLIC LECTURE

"Great Tide Rising: Toward Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change"
Kathleen Dean Moore

Synopsis. 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. Climate change may be an economic and technological problem. But fundamentally, it is a moral problem, and it calls for a moral response.

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? And always this: What stories and ideas will lift people who deeply care, inspiring them to move forward with clarity and moral courage?

What It Takes. A big room filled with caring, intelligent people. A good microphone. Travel and hotel expenses. Honorarium ($100 to $1000) depending on your organization's ability to pay.

2. PERFORMANCE

"In a Time of Extinction, A Call to Life"
Kathleen Dean Moore and Rachelle McCabe

Synopsis. This performance piece is a stunning collaboration between essayist/activist Kathleen Dean Moore and concert pianist, Rachelle McCabe. The performance weaves the spoken word into the movements of Rachmaninoff's Variations on a Theme of Corelli. It's a sometimes thunderous, sometimes heart-aching piece, and it carries a strong message straight into the listeners' hearts - the lives on this planet are beautiful and worthy beyond measure, and we cannot, must not, destroy them at this rate and with this terrible disregard. It's a call to life, a call to reverence, and a call to action.

Link to action. We hand out a program that has, on the back, a good list of what people can DO to combat the Sixth Extinction. And we follow the performance by inviting the audience to participate in a paired discussion based on Joanna Macy's active listening. It's extra good if the lobby is filled with tables where people can sign up to become active. So the evening goes from emotional engagement to thoughtful consideration to action.

Comments. "It was truly exceptional. I had no idea what to expect...I was deeply moved by the power, eloquence, wisdom, urgency, and insight of the presentation. The synergy of the music and the reading was brilliant. Why? Because there was such integrity in the sharing of voices. The symmetry between the two of you was magnificent. The Rachmaninoff piece (and the performance) was stunning and your language (and delivery) sent me to so many different places, mainly emotional. And that's what I needed. Not another intellectual experience, but rather a revitalization of the emotional connection to the planetary emergency." - Mitch Thomashow, former President, Unity College

"It was deeply moving, fact-filled, and as strong a message as one could possibly imagine." -- Shirley Byrne and John Byrne, former president, Oregon State University

"...an amazing experience that was deeply moving, profoundly disturbing, yet not dispiriting." -- Bonnie Esbensen, pianist, Corvallis.

What it takes.

  • A wonderful piano in a space that seats at least 200.
  • A good microphone.
  • A terrific crowd.
  • Travel and lodging for two from Corvallis, Oregon and, if possible, $1000 for the pianist.

3. WORKSHOP

"Keep On, Strong Heart" -- Moral Power in the Climate Fight
Kathleen Dean Moore, with Libby Roderick

Synopsis. Climate change is a moral issue. It's wrong to wreck the planet. It's wrong to reap huge profits by bringing down the life-supporting systems of the planet. Climate change is a massive human rights violation, a failure of reverence for life, and a betrayal of the children. It calls people of conscience to immediate action.

But we often don't act, because we are uncertain about the moral complexities of the situation and doubtful of our own moral authority. Just as people hold back when they are confused about the facts - a hesitation that climate deniers skillfully exploit - people don't act when they are confused about the ethics.

This is a workshop that clears away the moral confusion that prevents us from speaking on climate change. It provides answers to disempowering questions like these:

  • How can I criticize the fossil fuel industry when I drive a car (fly in planes, heat with oil, whatever)?
  • Does the duty of compassion block me from moral outrage or prevent me from criticizing fossil fuel executives?
  • How can I pay attention to climate change when my brother is in jail (or war is raging in Syria, or police are shooting unarmed Black men -- name your injustice)?
  • Do you have to be religious to be ethical?
  • Is there any moral call to act if the situation is hopeless?

The three-hour workshop uses discussion, role-playing, case studies, and music to build logical clarity and moral courage for the fight against climate catastrophe.

Workshop leaders. Kathleen Dean Moore is a moral philosopher, writer, and climate advocate, co-editor of Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril and author of Great Tide Rising: Toward Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change. Libby Roderick (sometimes available as a co-leader) works at the University of Alaska on issues related to difficult dialogues, sustainability, and climate change. She is co-editor of Start Talking: A Handbook for Engaging Difficult Dialogues, as well as an internationally recognized singer/songwriter and recording artist.

What It takes. Twenty-five to fifty engaged workshop participants. Travel and hotel expenses for workshop leaders. Honoraria ($100 to $1000) scaled to your organization's ability to pay.

Other events that may interest your community

Public Talk / Divestment is a Moral Issue
The purpose of divestment is not to destroy Big Oil; it's to save the university's integrity. Five fallacious arguments against divestment, named and refuted.

Writing Workshop / The Work of a Writer in a World of Wounds
Is it enough for a nature writer to celebrate frog song - even as marshes disappear? Can we praise meadowlarks in the morning - even as suburbs replace their open meadows? What is a writer's duty toward what Robinson Jeffers called "the heartbreaking beauty that will remain when there's no heart to break for it?" Many nature writers have given up literary writing and turned instead to activism - community organizing, direct action, polemic journalism. But is nature writing itself a kind of activism? If so, what is our purpose, and who is our audience?

Writing Workshop / The Nature Essay: Practicing the Osprey's Art
Here is how an osprey hunts: soaring over water, patiently watching. All she sees are surfaces, reflections on the riffles, the glistening pines. Then the angle of light changes, or the direction of the wind, and the osprey catches a glimpse of a shadow under the surface of the water. She tucks her wings and dives. So it is with the nature essay. A nature essay begins with patient, loving, informed observation of a particular location. Then it pursues a truth briefly revealed in that place. In this workshop, we will practice diving, the art of moving between experience and an exploration of its meaning.