Hayhoe’s ability to bridge faith and science has made her one of the country’s most effective communicators when it comes to climate change. She gives scripture-based lectures to church groups and religious organizations that focus on the positive benefits of collective action—water for farmers, food for the poor, moral values for churchgoers—instead of bleak facts and dystopian pictures of the end of times. And she never talks down to her audience. “If you begin a conversation with, ‘You’re an idiot,’ that’s the end of the conversation, too,” she told the New York Times last year.
Despite criticism from right-wing media, threats from online trolls, and being viewed suspiciously by the evangelical community, Hayhoe hasn’t abandoned her crusade to convince the Christian community that climate change is real. She co-wrote a book, A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions, with her husband (an evangelical pastor and one of the first people she converted), and produces a bi-weekly web series with PBS. She has also co-authored reports for the US Global Change Research Program and the National Academy of Sciences.
“Far from holding us back, or making us doubt, or saying there’s nothing we can do, our values demand we be on the forefront of this issue. That’s what we as Christians are called to do,” she said in 2015.
In this interview with Quartz, Hayhoe talks about why it takes more than facts to change people’s minds, how bias can be a good thing, and the responsibility we all have in shaping the values of the next generation.