Meet Dr. Katherine Hayhoe
“Climate change is a human issue and affects everything that we care about,” says Dr. Hayhoe, theological evangelical Christian, Endowed Professor in Public Policy and Public Law in the Public Administration program of the Department of Political Science at Texas Tech University, and chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy. Her faith is central to her efforts to address climate change, or as she prefers to call it, global weirding. “It affects our health, it affects our food, it affects our economy, it affects our security, it affects the stability of our government, even. And not only that, it affects poor and vulnerable people more than anyone else… real people are being affected today, and we believe that God’s love has been poured in our hearts to share with our brothers and sisters here and around the world who are suffering.” What happens to them matters to us. This is not a partisan, political, or even a scientific issue. Katherine Hayhoe sees global weirding as a humanitarian issue. You may not agree with everything she says, but this pastor’s wife makes some good points for us as followers of Jesus to consider.
The Construction Team at Greystone has seen firsthand how climate affects many low-income people in our state. Working with other churches and homeowners to repair and rebuild homes in the Lumberton area has given them a front-row seat to the devastation and heartbreak of families who must start over again and again. People who can least afford to rebuild and make repairs often have nowhere else to go after major hurricanes sweep through their community. Recovery happens at glacial speed. Even when you have good health, personal funds, and insurance, it can take years to recover. For those without these resources readily at hand, it may be impossible. Not a member of the construction/disaster relief team, yet? Consider joining that team. But, be warned. The work will change you in ways you cannot imagine. If the Spirit nudges you in this direction, talk to Jerry Chiles and learn more about the life-affirming work of this team.
Construction is not for you, you say? What might you do to reduce the effects of climate change? In this TED Talk, Dr. Hayhoe states that simply talking about the effects of climate change will move us forward in dealing effectively with this global issue. As a teacher, I usually found when planning a new unit, updating an old lesson, or trying to solve a knotty problem, answers could be discovered and difficult situations resolved when our team worked together. We talked our way through the twists and turns of the situation. Conversation may feel like a slow way to make progress, but it does work. Talk with friends, family, Sunday School classes, and neighbors about the concerns near and dear to us. How does global weirding affect us and those we love? What simple things can we as individuals do to make things better?
Small steps may not make it feel like you are contributing to the solution. Remember the old commercial, “Every litter bit hurts”? I am convinced that every little thing we do to solve this problem, helps. When we make one change, we begin to recognize other ways we can contribute in a positive way. Awareness is crucial. Consider picking one of these action items you can begin putting in place today:
1. Eat less meat
2. Line dry clothes (you may have to deal with an irate HOA)
3. Use energy-efficient light bulbs
4. Reduce food waste
Check out this article from National Geographic for suggestions about ways to encourage children, and yourself, about actions you can take to be part of the solution to global weirding. And, try one or both of these quizzes to learn more:
For a closer look at climate change, take this quiz.
To see how green you might be, try this quiz.
– Marcia Ostendorff