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Scientist Preaches Climate Change to Evangelicals

Image: Scientist Preaches Climate Change to Evangelicals
A pier once surrounded by the water of Lake Buchanan is seen afflicted by a severe drought on March 12, 2014 in Burnet, Texas. (Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Nov 2015 08:17 PM

A climate scientist is aiming to change opinions among her fellow Christian evangelicals – and is slowly beginning to find a receptive audience in drought-stricken Texas.

Maclean's, a national weekly in Canada, reports Katharine Hayhoe – who is married to an evangelical church pastor in Lubbock – recently took her mission to a college lecture hall in Midland, a small oil town, slipping from science to Scripture without missing a beat.

'For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind," the Canadian native reads from a verse from Paul’s second epistle to Timothy.

"Our response to climate change was never intended to come from a place of fear," she tells the crowd. "God has given us three amazing gifts. He’s given us a spirit of power to get things done, a spirit of love and — as a scientist, this is my favorite — a sound mind. Who knew? God gave us a sound mind to make good decisions, using the information he’s given us."

Hayhoe, a Canada native, specializes in building localized statistical models which governments from California to Massachusetts use to prepare for a future onslaught of drought, or unprecedented rainfall.

She currently heads up the Climate Science Center of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, and has contributed to reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Maclean's reports.

Later this month, she's set to be at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on behalf of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"We are told to love others as Christ loved us," she tells the Midland audience. "How did Christ love us? Was it with a 'me first and you later' attitude? It wasn’t."

"How loving is it to ignore when developed countries do things that actively harm developing nations?" she asks, pausing to let the question sink in. "When people who have resources do things that harm people who do not, right here in our country?"

"That’s why our Christian values are integral to how we treat this issue," she tells a rapt audience "Far from holding us back, or making us doubt, or saying there’s nothing we can do, our values demand we be on the forefront of this issue. That’s what we as Christians are called to do."

Her crusade is not without its conservative critics; a July appearance on "The 700 Club," the Christian Broadcast Network’s flagship talk show, unleashed a torrent of online hate-mail – as did a public dispute with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Maclean's reports.

"It was very discouraging and overwhelming," she says. "That’s not what you sign up for as a climate scientist."

Still, Bob Altany, a 58-year-old petroleum geologist who attended Hayhoe's Midland lecture, thinks she's getting through to climate change skeptics.

"What I find hopeful is she’s using faith to convince people,” he adds. “Yes, we really do need to take action. Yes, it can do good, and that alone should motivate us. This is something God wants."

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A climate scientist is aiming to change opinions among her fellow Christian evangelicals – and is slowly beginning to find a receptive audience in drought-stricken Texas.
climate, scientist, evangelical, christians, global, warming
509
2015-17-10
Tuesday, 10 Nov 2015 08:17 PM
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