November 21, 2016

Explore Global Weirding with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe

Posted by Laura Guertin

For those new to the term “global weirding” please see this New York Times op-ed by Thomas Friedman (Feb. 17, 2010) titled Global Weirding Is Here and this interview by Northwestern of Auroop Gan­guly.

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe (personal website) is an atmospheric scientist and associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University, where she serves as the Director of the Climate Science Center. Her research focuses on developing and applying high-resolution climate projections to evaluate the future impacts of climate change on human society and the natural environment. She has served on national-level committees from AGU to NOAA, and she has even given a TEDx talk titled What if climate change is real?

So it should be no surprise that this scientist would expand her passion for communication and advocate about the reality of global warming.  Along with Texas Tech Public Media, Dr. Hayhoe kicked off a Indiegogo fundraising campaign to “start a web series looking at this whole climate change thing and what it means to us; and with the big new Paris Agreement in place, and the rapid shifts in public opinion we’re seeing across the United States, it’s an important time to do so.” With the fundraising goal met, Dr. Hayhoe kicked off her series of ten short videos titled “Global Weirding: Climate, Politics, and Religion.” Global Weirding is produced by KTTZ Texas Tech Public Media and distributed by PBS Digital Studios.

Below is the first video posted on the Global Weirding YouTube channel.

Interested in learning more about this series? Here’s the next video, Welcome to Global Weirding.

The additional videos that have been posted to date include (and new episodes are posted every other Wednesday at 10 CT):

Dr. Hayhoe is doing an amazing service to our discipline and has fully embraced her role as a science communicator – not without a cost.

Still, Dr. Hayhoe moves ahead with speaking about, in her words, “one of the most important issue the world is facing today.”

She ends her letter to the next U.S. President with the following statement:

“…solutions require two big things: one, that we listen to each other, instead of talking over each other, and two, that we work together instead of tearing each other apart.”  —  CBC Radio

The New York Times wrote an article on October 10, 2016, titled “Katharine Hayhoe, a Climate Explainer Who Stays Above the Storm.” NYT science writer John Schwartz reported that “Dr. Hayhoe has come to prominence in part because she is just so darned nice….she has found that she gets her science across more effectively if she can connect with people personally.” In the same article, Anthony Leiserowitz of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication states, “she combined powerful communications skills, world-class scientific credentials and an ability to relate to conservative religious communities that can be skeptical about the risks of a changing climate.” Whatever the magic “scicomm formula” she has come up with, we should each be doing our part to introduce others, especially our students, to her voice and message.

Let’s hope an ever-increasing audience listens to Dr. Hayhoe and follows her very wise advice, from our students to everyday citizens to political leaders in our own nation and across the globe. She has much to teach us, and we have much to learn. Thank you, Dr. Hayhoe, for being a leader in climate change communication – you are a voice we need now and in the future.