What Would the “Texan of the Year” Say About Climate Change?

by Duane Nichols on December 25, 2019

Prof. Katharine Hayhoe, PhD in atmospheric sciences (Univ. Illinois), Director of Climate Science Center at Texas Tech

For making a Christian case for combating climate change, Texas Tech’s Katharine Hayhoe is a finalist for Texan of the Year

From the Dallas Morning News Editorial, Dallas, TX, December 19, 2019

Katharine Hayhoe is an evangelical Christian AND a professor at Texas Tech University who researches climate change. And because she was born in Canada, it took her some time to understand why those things don’t tend to go together here in the U.S.

For making a Christian case for combating climate change, Texas Tech’s Katharine Hayhoe is a finalist for Texan of the Year. As an evangelical Christian, Hayhoe talks to people about their values rather than their fears.

She’s become a bridge to help nonscientists, particularly people of faith, understand climate change and to spread hope that humans can find solutions that make life better for everyone.

Hayhoe might call herself Canadian, but we’ll claim her as a Texan, and not just because she’s worked in Lubbock for a number of years. She reflects the Texan values of free thinking, commitment to her faith and respect for others. In 2019 the United Nations named her a Champion of the Earth. We’ll do them one better and name her a finalist for Texan of the Year.

Hayhoe has identified the biggest obstacle for addressing climate change: People rarely talk about climate science. Most people don’t discuss climate change with their friends and family, and they don’t really understand the problem or the solutions. This gives politicians and activists the opportunity to stoke fear and stump for votes on the issue.

“The No. 1 predictor of whether we agree that climate is changing, humans are responsible and the impacts are increasingly serious and even dangerous has nothing to do with how much we know about science or even how smart we are, but simply where we fall on the political spectrum,” Hayhoe said last year in a TED Talk. “The No. 1 thing we can do is the thing we aren’t doing: talk about it.”

Hayhoe speaks to congregations, schools, Rotary clubs, community groups, and political and academic gatherings around the country. Her message is simple: She doesn’t want to change anybody’s values. She wants to connect why climate change is important to her audience because of their own values.

“We don’t have to be a liberal tree hugger to care about a changing climate,” she said in the Ted talk. As a Christian, Hayhoe says she believes God created the earth and assigned humans responsibility for living things. And her faith leads her to care about those suffering from poverty, hunger and disease. Therefore, because as a scientist she understands the impact humans are having on the climate, she believes humans should change.

Hers is not a message of fear, of hellfire and brimstone for anyone who uses a plastic drinking straw or takes a cruise vacation. She said, “What we need to fix this thing is rational hope.”

Hope that by collectively, for example, conserving natural resources, eating more local food and adopting more renewable energy, humans can take care of the earth and prevent climate disasters that hurt impoverished people the most.

We share the hope that by turning down the volume on climate rhetoric, people can examine scientific findings and adopt not what feels good, but what will actually improve lives.


See also: Us and Them : Touching the Third Rail with Katharine Hayhoe, by Trey Kay, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, May 9, 2018

In today’s culturally polarized society, discussing whether the planet is warming and if humans have an impact on the climate is a topic that’s often avoided. Why? Because speaking about it can be akin to touching the “third rail” of religion and politics.

Us & Them’s Trey Kay speaks with a person whose professional and personal lives revolve around the highly charged topic of climate change. Katharine Hayhoe is a respected climate scientist, as well as a devoted evangelical Christian – two descriptions that some Americans don’t think naturally go together.

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Lone Star Ranger December 25, 2019 at 2:24 am

Texan of the Year: Dallas lost three business icons in 2019

By Cheryl Hall, Dallas Morning News, Dec 15, 2019

Herb Kelleher, Ross Perot Sr. and T. Boone Pickens were hugely successful but also left the world a better place.

Texas lost three iconic business giants this year — Herb Kelleher, Ross Perot Sr. and T. Boone Pickens — the likes of which we’ll never see again.They were in their late 80s and early 90s, yet we felt they left us way too soon.

Their deaths reminded us that success is about much, much more than making billions. It’s about leaving this world a better place than when we entered it.

These corporate mavericks marched to a different beat, built huge publicly held companies, donated enormous sums of money, were steadfast patriots and cared deeply for their families — at work and at home.

They were great storytellers who used earthy humor to make profound points.

Each made fashion statements. Kelleher was open collars, blue blazers and Aloha shirts — when he wasn’t Elvis or a Harley biker. Perot Sr. was dark suits, starched white shirts, ties and a American flag lapel pin. Pickens was bright Oklahoma State orange and running shoes.

All were underdogs who turned self-made wealth into community property.

“Herb, Boone and my father were members of our society who will never be replaced,” said Ross Perot Jr. “They were unique, quality, driven men who had larger-than-life personalities and who made a huge impact on our community and our country in a very positive way.”



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