Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dr. Kathrine Hayhoe; Climate Scientist, Evangelical Christian & My Hero

So we watched the first episode of "Years of Living Dangerously" last night (tivo'ed from Sunday).  It was, at first, a little squirm inducing, but then great.
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Here is the thing.  It follows what is happening to the planet with Climate Change.  And it followed 3 very interesting story lines, cut and merged so as to keep everyone's attention.  In the first, Harrison Ford is looking at Indonesia's Deforestation tragedy (and I did not realize how much of an carbon sink peat was).  Second Thomas Friedman was investigating the impact of a severe drought on the origins of the Syrian Civil War. Finally Don Cheadle was visiting a West Texas town, devastated by drought, and  denying climate warning and saying it was the work of God.
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The third story was - I was sure - going to be cringe-worthy, even though everyone was treated with respect.  The town's folk were portrayed as anti-scientist religious zealots and Don Cheadle was the black, LA atheist who knew better.  No one was going to come out of this well, I figured.
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I was so wrong.  The leading expert in climate change in North West Texas (Lubbock at Texas Tech) is Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a Climate Scientist and Evangelical Christian.  She explained, in simple terms, why climate change is man made.  And explained to Don Cheadle how easy that is to marry with her Christianity.
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I paraphrase but, in essence, it was that God gave man this fabulous mind and the ability to understand, to impact and to decide right from wrong.  And it is her mind, a gift from God, that allows her to see that much of what we have been doing to the environment lately is wrong.
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Don Cheadle's hope, expressed at the beginning of the show, was to find a way to get these two very different groups of people (LA Agnostics who believe in Climate Change, and West Texas Christians that don't) to talk.  Dr. Hayhoe defined a bridge of discussion.  She gave a speech to the city and spoke honestly and simply about what was happening, her background and how this affect the community.
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After a church talk, Cheadle was discussing climate change with a big white rancher (Monte Best) and the conversation went something like this:
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Monte Best - "It makes a lot more sense when someone who shares your background and your beliefs explains in a way that you understand.  It means that I can believe in Climate Change and want to do something about it and that doesn't mean ... (searching for words..)"
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Don Cheadle - "... doesn't mean you have to vote for Barack Obama."
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Monte Best - "Exactly."
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Exactly.  Who we vote for doesn't stop us all from being in this together.  The episode is online (not sure if it by the story or the entire episode) - but if you have a good connection and an hour - it is a great show.
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Don Chealde, Dr. Hayhoe and her husband, a Minister

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