22 min

Conversations on Climate Change with Katharine Hayhoe Part 3: Inspiring Action – Katharine’s Call to Listeners EWN - Engineering With Nature

    • Nature

In Season 7, Episode 11, host Sarah Thorne and cohost Jeff King, National Lead of the Engineering With Nature (EWN) Program, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), conclude their in-depth conversation with Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). In Part 3 of our special three-part series, Katharine talks about her role as an advocate and her mission to inspire others to take action on climate change. Her bottom line is that you don’t have to be a top climate scientist to make a difference – we can all get involved. 

As a scientist, Katharine is an advocate for understanding the social science of how humans interact with information. “So often we physical and natural scientists feel like: ‘Oh, you just tell people the truth. Surely, they’ll do the right thing, right?’ Well, what social science tells us is no. If we haven’t made that head to heart to hands connection, nothing is going to happen in the right direction, especially pushing against the accumulated inertia of our fossil-fuel based economy and society.”  

Katharine notes the work of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, which finds that people’s assumptions about what others think about climate change are usually wrong. “We assume that we care and very few other people do. We assume that we’re doing things and nobody else is. We assume that nobody else is worried except me and my friends. But actually, they’re already worried. They just don’t know what to do. So, they don’t want to talk about it.”

Katharine’s climate change advocacy is focused on talking about and encouraging other people to talk about climate change. She has initiated and supported multiple channels of communications on climate change, including her TED Talk in 2018, The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Fight Climate Change: Talk about It; her personal social media accounts and her Newsletter, Talking Climate; and her work with organizations like the Potential Energy Coalition and Science Moms. Jeff reflects on how inspiring and inclusive Katharine’s message is, to include scientists, ecologists, engineers, social scientists, and artists.” As Katharine describes it, “We need people painting the pictures with words, with art, with music, with visual art, with spoken art, with every way we can.” 

Katharine plans to continue her tireless advocacy along many fronts. Her academic work is focused on developing and evaluating high-resolution climate projections and preparing for impacts and increasing resilience planning. As Chief Scientist of TNC, she is dedicated to supporting and advancing the work of TNC scientists. And she is going to continue her work with faith-based communities to advocate for climate action—including being the first plenary speaker at this year’s World Evangelical Alliance annual meeting.

Jeff closes by comparing her skill to another well-known Canadian, “That reminds me of Wayne Gretzky. He basically said, ‘I just skate to where I think or know that the puck is going to be.’ That’s exactly what you’re saying here. We need to be thinking well out into the future and then leaning into those certain outcomes that we can anticipate and planning accordingly.” He adds, “Katharine, the message I am really drawn to is your ‘head to heart to hands’ message. I want to use that and put it into practice in the Engineering With Nature program.  It is truly inspirational.”  This concludes our conversation with Katharine. We hope you enjoyed this special series! For more information and resource links, please visit the EWN Podcast page on the EWN website at https://www.engineeringwithnature.org/  
•      Jeff King at LinkedIn
•      a...

In Season 7, Episode 11, host Sarah Thorne and cohost Jeff King, National Lead of the Engineering With Nature (EWN) Program, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), conclude their in-depth conversation with Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). In Part 3 of our special three-part series, Katharine talks about her role as an advocate and her mission to inspire others to take action on climate change. Her bottom line is that you don’t have to be a top climate scientist to make a difference – we can all get involved. 

As a scientist, Katharine is an advocate for understanding the social science of how humans interact with information. “So often we physical and natural scientists feel like: ‘Oh, you just tell people the truth. Surely, they’ll do the right thing, right?’ Well, what social science tells us is no. If we haven’t made that head to heart to hands connection, nothing is going to happen in the right direction, especially pushing against the accumulated inertia of our fossil-fuel based economy and society.”  

Katharine notes the work of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, which finds that people’s assumptions about what others think about climate change are usually wrong. “We assume that we care and very few other people do. We assume that we’re doing things and nobody else is. We assume that nobody else is worried except me and my friends. But actually, they’re already worried. They just don’t know what to do. So, they don’t want to talk about it.”

Katharine’s climate change advocacy is focused on talking about and encouraging other people to talk about climate change. She has initiated and supported multiple channels of communications on climate change, including her TED Talk in 2018, The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Fight Climate Change: Talk about It; her personal social media accounts and her Newsletter, Talking Climate; and her work with organizations like the Potential Energy Coalition and Science Moms. Jeff reflects on how inspiring and inclusive Katharine’s message is, to include scientists, ecologists, engineers, social scientists, and artists.” As Katharine describes it, “We need people painting the pictures with words, with art, with music, with visual art, with spoken art, with every way we can.” 

Katharine plans to continue her tireless advocacy along many fronts. Her academic work is focused on developing and evaluating high-resolution climate projections and preparing for impacts and increasing resilience planning. As Chief Scientist of TNC, she is dedicated to supporting and advancing the work of TNC scientists. And she is going to continue her work with faith-based communities to advocate for climate action—including being the first plenary speaker at this year’s World Evangelical Alliance annual meeting.

Jeff closes by comparing her skill to another well-known Canadian, “That reminds me of Wayne Gretzky. He basically said, ‘I just skate to where I think or know that the puck is going to be.’ That’s exactly what you’re saying here. We need to be thinking well out into the future and then leaning into those certain outcomes that we can anticipate and planning accordingly.” He adds, “Katharine, the message I am really drawn to is your ‘head to heart to hands’ message. I want to use that and put it into practice in the Engineering With Nature program.  It is truly inspirational.”  This concludes our conversation with Katharine. We hope you enjoyed this special series! For more information and resource links, please visit the EWN Podcast page on the EWN website at https://www.engineeringwithnature.org/  
•      Jeff King at LinkedIn
•      a...

22 min