The climate change evangelist with God on her side | Innovation Tech

To change the hearts and minds of climate sceptics, atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe mixes hard science and the Bible to get her message across


“I care because of all the people who are suffering due to hunger, poverty and disease”

Sebastian Nevols, Copyright: The Condé Nast Publications Ltd

KATHARINE HAYHOE is used to straddling worlds, having spent five years as a missionary kid in Colombia. Today, she is one of the world’s top climate scientists and communicators, who also happens to be an evangelical Christian and a pastor’s wife.

The co-director of Texas Tech University’s Climate Science Center and CEO of consulting firm ATMOS Research, Hayhoe is uniquely placed to bring home the perils of global warming to fellow evangelicals who are unconcerned about climate change. So it is a good thing she is a natural in front of a camera or audience, with a passion – and compassion – that is contagious.

Her Christianity doesn’t shield Hayhoe from criticism, however: she is a high-profile woman who is seen as a traitor by some on the religious right. She is attacked even more than most climate scientists. Deep down, though, Hayhoe must worry her opponents. Those political and religious divides they have been working to build up? Hayhoe knows they are weaker than they seem.

You go for the heart when discussing climate change, relating it to what people hold dear, such as their children’s futures or being able to go fishing or skiing. Why do you care about climate change?

I care because of all the people who are suffering due to hunger, poverty and disease – suffering that is exacerbated by the effects of climate change. In parts of Colombia, when your home is destroyed by a flood or a …

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