Katharine Hayhoe: Climate-change evangelist
If you haven’t heard of Katharine Hayhoe, you should. Not because Time magazine recently named her one of their 100 most influential people of 2014, or because she’s a personal friend of actor Don Cheadle, who wrote the entry about her in the magazine. You should know about her because Hayhoe is an anomaly—a committed evangelical Christian who not only believes in climate change (as opposed to roughly 56 percent of evangelicals) but also actively works to spread the word. A climatologist, Hayhoe describes herself as a “climate-change evangelist,” and her mission is simple—to convince the evangelical community that climate change is real and has some very devastating consequences.
Hayhoe is a talented and dedicated scientist who directs the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech, and she is also a lead participant in the Third US National Climate Assessment. The focus of her research is, in her own words, “what climate change means for us, right here, where we live.”
Combined with her familiarity with the evangelical community, her research has also led her to become a popularizer. She has collaborated on Years of Living Dangerously, a documentary series on the effects of climate change (see our review), and, with her husband (an evangelical pastor), she also recently co-authored a book called A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions. As the icecaps continue to shrink, we hope her influence will continue to grow.