Christians, Climate And Culture

Katharine Hayhoe April 11, 2019

Since the time of Galileo, science and faith have been framed as two opposing, or at best, non-overlapping systems. Skepticism about the effects of climate change—exhibited by many Christians in the U.S.—perpetuates this perceived warfare between science and religion. Mounting scientific evidence clearly documents the risks posed by climate change to the poor, the needy, and other vulnerable populations – the very people Christians, and other communities of faith, are called to love. Regrettably, those who deny climate change often believe they are in the right, making a moral stand. Combining basic tenets of the Christian faith with recent findings from the areas of climate science, psychology, and sociology, Katharine Hayhoe—a world-renowned climate scientist and an evangelical Christian—will discuss potential reasons for these disagreements and the role that shared values may play in moving us forward past these barriers. Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist whose research focuses on developing and applying high-resolution climate projections to understand what climate change means for people and the natural environment. She is a professor and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University and has a B.S. in Physics from the University of Toronto and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Illinois. Concurrently, Katharine is bridging the broad, deep gap between scientists and Christians— work she does in part because she’s a Christian herself. She hosts the PBS digital series Global Weirding: Climate, Politics and Religion, and she has been named one of TIME’s100 Most Influential People and Fortune’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. Hayhoe has served as a lead author for the Second, Third, and Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessments. She has also received the National Center for Science Education’s Friend of the Planet Award, the American Geophysical Union’s Climate Communication Prize, the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award, and the Stephen H. Schneider Climate Communication Award.