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Practice Justice

A Climate Scientist, Faith and Divisions: What I’m Reading Now

Help for talking about climate change
by Ben McDonald Coltvet | November 30, 2021

Katharine Hayhoe’s 2021 book, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, contains wisdom for church leaders who are struggling to navigate divided congregations.

Hayhoe is an evangelical Christian and a world-renowned climate scientist and communicator. She believes that the most important thing that anyone can do to address climate change is to talk about it.

The book is packed with stories, ideas, and information that will lead to positive conversations that bridge gaps rather than dig trenches. Hayhoe writes, “By bonding over the values we truly share, and by connecting them to climate, we can inspire one another to act together to fix this problem” (11). 

Hayhoe’s method—begin with listening to what your people care about—may sound familiar to church leaders who have applied the Faithful Innovation Framework (Listen, Act, Share).

Yet as many church leaders have found, to “talk about it” is often the hardest part. Hayhoe points out that most people won’t talk about climate change. Why? They fear conflict with the 7 percent of Americans who vociferously reject it outright. But Hayhoe’s claim is that there are still 93 percent of Americans who can have constructive conversations on the topic.

The book is available wherever you buy your books. But you don’t have to buy the book—you can watch her 2018 TED Talk “The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Fight Climate Change: Talk About It” or listen to the October 15, 2021 book talk on Minnesota Public Radio with climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe to get the gist of her message.

About the Author
Ben McDonald Colvet is the Associate Director of Digital Content for Luther Seminary.

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