Katharine Hayhoe Climate Change Evangelist

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Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe photographed at the National Ranching Heritage Museum in Lubbock, Texas on April 16, 2014. Photo Credit: Ashley Rodgers—Texas Tech University

One of the first times that we went to church in Texas, I met a couple. We were introducing ourselves they asked: “what do you do?” I explained that I study global warming, and they said: “oh that’s wonderful! We need somebody like you to tell her children the right things. She said you would not believe the lies that our kids are being taught school. They told us that the ice in the Arctic is melting, and threatening the polar bears. I said, well,”Im afraid its true”. “I’m afraid the message is often a perceived conflict between science, and it’s a little bit like coming out the closet admitting people that you are a Christian (and a scienstist). My husband, he is the pastor of an evangelical church and many people would approach him to ask him questions about climate change. If anything, there are even more questions in the Christian community because we are targeted by so much of the disinformation that’s going on. So that’s why my husband and I decided to write a book together, trying to set up what a faith-based respond to this problem of climate change.

With climate change, much of our response to the issue is emotional. The fear of how our lives would be irrevocably changed if we uprooted our entire economy, and how our right to enjoy the luxuries of energy and water might be ripped away from us. Well as a Christian we’re told that God is not the author of fear. God is love. When we’re acting out of fear, we’re thinking about ourselves. When we act about love, we not thinking of ourselves we’re thinking but others. Our global community, the poor, the disadvantaged ,the people who do not have the resources to adapt. And so I believe that we are called first of all to love each other, and second of all to act. Am I a climate change evangelist? The “evangel” means “good news”. Climate change is not really very good news right now, but at the same time I think it is good news to know that we have choices. by making wise and responsible choices now, we can ensure that we protect the things that we care about the most, on a planet for the benefit of the people who we know personally and those who we don’t.

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