For decades, climate scientists have remained puzzled by their inability to sway climate opinions. Was the data too confusing? Could they simplify it? Projected sea levels and global temperatures simply were not doing the trick. Atmospheric climate scientists, Katharine Hayhoe reflects, “Scientists used to operate under the assumption that if people don’t agree with you, it’s because they don’t understand.”
The very question regarding the legitimacy over climate change is perhaps the problem. Hayhoe expands, “It’s morally irresponsible to suggest there’s a debate about the reality of climate change.” An issue she contends made the most headway after Pope Francis' climate Encyclical was released in June. The 184-page edict begins with the premise that climate change is real, instead focusing on a solution.
What people need is a moral voice to guide them through the murky (rising) waters. If the temperature is increasing, don't offer your congregation a fan, offer them a solution.
By Lois Parshley | Popular Science
Science and religion usually make uneasy bedfellows. That’s why Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, published in June, made headlines. The papal essay is the Vatican’s first authoritative word on climate policy, and it takes an unequivocal stance: The world needs to act.
Atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, says the Pope’s message might prove more effective than 30 years of scientists’ efforts to communicate the urgency of climate change.
“Scientists used to operate under the assumption that if people don’t agree with you, it’s because they don’t understand,” Hayhoe says. “So they thought, ‘Oh, we just have to explain it better.’ ” But social scientists have learned that a simple lack of information doesn’t explain disbelief or indifference. “Science can tell us why climate change is happening, and what might happen next,” Hayhoe says. “But what we should do about it isn’t a science question. It’s a question of values.”
And that’s where Pope Francis comes in. He aligns the science of climate change with a moral call-to-arms. As he states in the encyclical, “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”
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