Bearing Witness Book Launch

etched drawing of sun setting behind mountains

Bearing Witness Book Launch | May 2021

This event marked the publication of a paradigm-shifting book, “Bearing Witness: The Human Rights Case Against Fracking and Climate Change,” edited by Thomas A. Kerns and Kathleen Dean Moore and published by OSU Press, 2021. Drawing on rulings from the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change—which was also organized and hosted by the Spring Creek Project—the book maps a promising new direction in the ongoing struggle to protect the planet from climate chaos. It tells the story of this landmark case through carefully curated court materials, including searing eye-witness testimony, groundbreaking legal testimony and the Tribunal’s advisory opinion. “Bearing Witness” argues that climate change, and the extreme extraction techniques that fuel it, directly violate rights guaranteed by international law. Moreover, governments that are in deep collusion with oil and gas companies abdicate their responsibility to protect the rights of their citizens.

During the virtual book launch hosted by Spring Creek Project on May 3, 2021, Tom and Kathleen were joined in conversation by several special guests:

  • Robin Bronen, director, Alaska Institute for Justice
  • David James Duncan, author, "The Heart of the Monster"
  • Emily Johnston, climate activist, Valve Turner
  • John Knox, first United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
  • Teresa Mills, author/activist, Center for Health, Environment and Justice
Remote video URL


The following organizations co-sponsored the event: 350 Seattle, 350 Vermont, Alaska Institute for Justice, Beyond Toxics, Center for Humans & Nature, Coalition to Protect New York, Grass Roots Books & Music, Oregon State University Press, Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, Post Carbon Institute, Protect the Bush Alliance, Rogue Climate and the School of Law at Queensland University of Technology. 

About the Editors

Thomas A. Kerns, emeritus professor of philosophy at North Seattle College, is Director of Environment and Human Rights Advisory. In 2015, he helped draft the international Declaration on Human Rights and Climate Change. Dr. Kerns co-organized the International Tribunal on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change, which provides the substance of this book.

Kathleen Dean Moore, PhD, is a moral philosopher, environmental activist and award winning author or editor of a dozen books, including "Moral Ground" and "Great Tide Rising." Her growing alarm at the devastation of nature led her to leave her longtime position as Distinguished Professor of Environmental Philosophy at Oregon State University to write and speak about the moral urgency of climate action. She writes from Corvallis, Oregon, and Chichagof Island, Alaska.