‘Hope begins with a conversation’: Katharine Hayhoe wants you to start talking about climate change

Science Moms

Katherine Hayoe is one of the clearest communicators about climate change in the country.  Spend some time perusing her videos and you will understand why she is so popular.

Hayhoe has joined forces with a group of Science Moms to demystify climate change.

We often feel helpless about what we can do, and it turns out that one simple thing moms can do is to support immediate action by the government to address global warming.

There is no longer any argument about the facts, more than 99% of climate scientists like Hayhoe agree that human emissions of carbon pollution are warming the planet.

An atmospheric scientist, Hayhoe is currently a director of the Climate Center and an associate in the Public Health program of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Texas Tech University. Her lengthy list of accolades includes being named among TIME’s 100 Most Influential People, FORTUNE’s World’s Greatest Leaders, and Working Mom’s 50 Most Influential Moms.

But despite her impressive credentials, she and the rest of the Science Moms don’t want Americans to be intimidated by climate change. After all, it affects every one of us—and if left unchecked, it will ruin our livable climate.

Although her husband is a pastor and she’s a practicing Christian, Katharine Hayhoe doesn’t accept global warming on faith. She crunches the data and analyzes the models.

Mitigation, adaptation, or suffering

Science Moms

Communication is the key to getting people to realize that climate change is real and that each of us has a role to play in repairing our planet. And the sooner the better.

Hayhoe says, “the data tells us the planet is warming. The science is clear that humans are responsible. As former Presidential Science Advisor John Holdren once said, ‘We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation, and suffering.’ We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required, and the less suffering there will be.”

Hayhoe’s TED talk, which has nearly four million views, is a must-watch as it attempts to address the communication barriers between political factions.

The thermometer doesn’t care whether you’re liberal or conservative

thermometer on a red backgroung


When you watch the news, the weather person doesn’t give two different forecasts based on your political affiliation. It’s not as if it’s 98 degrees for the liberals and 72 degrees for the conservatives. That’s why Hayhoe and the Science Moms feel it’s imperative for us all to be on the same page, and that means weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels.

“Some people would rather cut off their arm than give the government any further excuse to disrupt their comfortable lives and tell them what to do. But saying, ‘Yes, it’s a real problem, but I don’t want to fix it,’ that makes us the bad guy, and nobody wants to be the bad guy. So instead, we use arguments like, ‘It’s just a natural cycle.’ ‘It’s the sun.’ Or my favorite, ‘Those climate scientists are just in it for the money.’”

And when it’s cold outside, many naysayers continue to insist that global warming has magically disappeared.

 A threat multiplier

Climate protestors at a march

John Englart / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Hayhoe has always been interested in climate change. She was inspired by her father, who was a science teacher.

Living in West Texas, water is already scarce, plus Texas has the highest carbon emissions of any U.S. state. And being a mother, Hayhoe is concerned about the future for her son and others in his generation.

I’m a Christian. I care about a changing climate because it is, as the military calls it, a ‘threat multiplier.’ It takes those issues, like poverty and hunger and disease and lack of access to clean water and even political crises that lead to refugee crises — it takes all of these issues, and it exacerbates them, it makes them worse.

Start from the heart

A hand holding two heart-shaped lollypops


Just about every single person in the world already has the values they need to care about a changing climate. They just haven’t connected the dots.

Approaching climate change from an intellectual perspective might not work for everyone. That’s why Hayhoe believes talking is the key to handling the crisis.

“The most important thing to do is, instead of starting up with your head, with all the data and facts in our head, to start from the heart, to start by talking about why it matters to us, to begin with genuinely shared values. Are we both parents? Do we live in the same community? Do we enjoy the same outdoor activities: hiking, biking, fishing, even hunting? Do we care about the economy or national security?”

‘We can’t give in to despair’

The earth seen from space.


Hayhoe believes that what we need to repair the planet is “rational hope.”

We can’t give in to despair. We have to go out and actively look for the hope that we need, that will inspire us to act. And that hope begins with a conversation today.

Many positive developments are occurring around the globe.

Incredibly, in Texas, there are already over 25,000 jobs in the wind energy industry. And Hayhoe says that her state is “almost up to [getting] 20 percent of our electricity from clean, renewable sources.” Even the military is getting involved. Fort Hood, the largest army base in the nation, is “powered by wind and solar energy now, saving taxpayers over $150 million.”

What means the most to me personally, though, is when just one person tells me sincerely that they had never cared about climate change before, or even thought it was real: but now, because of something they heard me say, they’ve changed their mind. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.

You can subscribe to Katharine Hayhoe’s YouTube channel for more great videos and climate information.

If you are ready to stand with Hayhoe and the other Science Moms, you can take action today by reaching out to your elected representatives. Science Moms allows you to make your voice heard and demand action with just a few clicks.

⇒ Click here to send a letter to your Senators and Representative RIGHT NOW!⇐

You can also find a plethora of resources to help you start those important climate conversations. Don’t forget to add your name to the list so you can get monthly actions to protect your kids from climate change.

This article was produced and distributed in partnership with Potential Energy Coalition in support of the Science Moms.

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