The Texas Scientist Reconciling Climate Change & Evangelical Christianity

By David Brown and Rhonda FanningApril 25, 2014 10:20 pm

Time Magazine just released its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. This year the list includes Texas Tech climate scientist and evangelical Christian Katharine Hayhoe.

For Time, actor Don Cheadle wrote “There’s something fascinating about a smart person who defies stereotype. That’s what makes my friend Katharine Hayhoe – a Texas Tech climatologist and an evangelical Christian – so interesting.”

The Texas Standard’s David Brown recently spoke with Hayhoe about science, her faith, and making TIME’s list.

Hayhoe says she felt honored to be chosen, and was encouraged that a climate scientist made the list, but felt her faith may have set her apart from other climatologists.

“There are many, many of my colleagues who deserve this honor, but the work I do specifically is looking at what climate change means to us, at the local scale where we live,” Hayhoe says. “Specifically, if we are a conservative person, or person of faith, why would we want to care about climate change? What do our Christian values have to tell us about this important issue?”

Asked about the perception that climate science might be at odds with evangelical Christianity, Hayhoe argued the dichotomy simply isn’t real.

“If you look at Christian values, what are they? To love your neighbor as yourself, to love others as Christ loved us, to care for the poor and the needy. Those are our Christian values,” she says.  “So when you look at an issue like climate change, it is affecting the poor and disadvantaged the most … It is affecting our neighbors here in the United States, and it’s affecting our neighbors around the world. So it is no way incompatible with our values. In fact, I believe that our values demand that we do something about this.”