In the climate activism world, Katharine Hayhoe is a superstar. Not only has the atmospheric scientist served as a lead author for the U.S. National Climate Assessment for more than a decade and taught political science at Texas Tech University, but she has also spoken about climate change with movie stars and presidents, published numerous books, scientifically advised and produced television series, delivered a TED Talk that has garnered more than 4 million views, and served on advisory boards ranging from those of Netflix to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.
Meanwhile, she has remained an evangelical Christian, which some might find surprising, but she finds not the least bit strange. In fact, it is from her faith that she draws passion for her work. “I am a climate scientist because of my faith, and I mean that in the most literal sense,” she says.
“As a Christian, I believe that we are called to love and care for others, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. And what is climate change, at its core, other than a failure to love?”
Of the many roles Hayhoe plays, that of being a science communicator is among the most important. She advocates for every single person to speak out about the climate crisis and reach out to those opposed to action or frozen in inaction by drawing connections between climate change and the things people care most about, such as their loved ones, their favorite places or the economy.
“The bottom line is, we don’t have to be a liberal tree-hugger to care about a changing climate,” she said in the aforementioned TED Talk. “All we have to be is a human living on this planet.”