Episode 12: Chasing Connections in Climate Action
There is scientific consensus on climate change and its human cause, but how to understand and address global warming remains a divided topic in American life. Art and religion are two lenses through which new perspectives on climate change might be discovered. In this episode, we talk to photographer James Balog and climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe about how their work creates connections across different ways of knowing, such as art, science, or religion. How can religious and artistic practices—along with a better understanding of influences such as personal geographies and socioeconomic backgrounds—inform meaningful ways to confront climate change?
- Visit Katharine Hayhoe’s website for more of her work and links to her social media
- Visit James Balog’s website and the Earth Vision institute
- Extreme Ice Survey: James’s innovative, long-term photography project to give a visual voice to the planet’s changing ecosystems
- Read Katharine’s new book, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World
- Watch Katherine’s Global Weirding: Climate, Politics, and Religion videos on Youtube
- Read James’s new book, The Human Element: A Time Capsule from the Anthropocene
- Watch James’s movies, The Human Element and Chasing Ice
JD Talasek: Welcome to The Ongoing Transformation, a podcast from Issues in Science and Technology. Issues is a publication of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and Arizona State University. We feature new essays most days on our website at issues.org. I’m JD Talasek, director of Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences, and on this episode, we’re in conversation with photographer James Balog and climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. James has been capturing images of our relationship with the natural world for nearly four decades, and Katharine is a chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy and a professor at Texas Tech University. Both James and Katharine have been thinking about the impacts of climate change for a long time, from very different perspectives. Katherine and James, welcome. I’m glad you’re with us.
James Balog: Thank you. Good morning.
Katharine Hayhoe: Thank you for having us.
Talasek: James, could you tell us about how you became a photographer, and what inspired you to create the Earth Vision Institute to use art and science to help us think about our impact on the environment?
Balog: Well for me, all of this comes out of an entire lifetime of being interested in the outdoors. Ever since I was a little boy, that was my main area of interest. I had to go to school and do all the things we do in school, but it was really being outside that animated me and got my spirit stirred. And that led into a lot of mountaineering all around the world, that led into studying earth science and doing a master’s degree at the University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. And that really is the foundation that eventually, several decades later, took me into the Extreme Ice Survey. But in between those late-70s works in science and then the Extreme Ice Survey which began in 2005, I did a lot of projects that were around endangered wildlife, around America’s forests. I went to a lot of different glacial areas and photographed them from a scenic standpoint for different assignments for National Geographic or Smithsonian or Outside or whoever the client was.
And I resisted going into photographing climate change for a while because I couldn’t figure out how to do it in an interesting way. On projects where I spent years doing my own, essentially personal production of the work, I want to look for something creative, something novel, something that takes you to a new level of perception. I couldn’t figure out how to do it, and one day I got an assignment from the New Yorker to go to Iceland and photograph glaciers. That was in 2005. That assignment led to an idea that I then took to National Geographic, and that led to an assignment that took me to the Extreme Ice Survey. That was 15 years ago, and here we are still talking about ice and receding glaciers and climate change.
Talasek: Well, I think it’s interesting because as you mentioned you started down this path studying science as a scientist, so you come with this informed knowledge. I wonder if you could talk just a little bit about the ice survey, because it’s not every day that we meet an artist whose work is actually cited and quoted in research papers and used within the science community as much as yours.
Balog: The Extreme Ice Survey has been a project of looking at receding glaciers. One of the essential pieces of the project has been a series of time-lapse cameras that were semi-permanently installed around the termini of various glaciers around the world. The sites included positions in Alaska, Glacier National Park in Montana, Greenland, Iceland, Austria, South Georgia, Antarctica, and Nepal. And at any one time, we have had as many as 43 cameras out. The network has shrunken quite a bit because of funding issues, staffing issues, and frankly, it’s been a long time that I’ve been working on this and it’s time to do some other things as well. But there are still some cameras in the field. And what the cameras have been doing is photographing every half hour around the clock as long as it’s daylight, making a record of how the landscape is changing.
At the same time, there’s a lot of sites where I’ve revisited these places every few years, essentially put my camera in the same position—whether it’s up in the air in a helicopter or down on the ground where my old tripod holes were—and I look at one frame versus another frame three years later, versus another frame three years after that, how the landscape has changed. The total archive of imagery right now is somewhere pushing 2 million pictures. We’re still in the process of editing, cleaning up, consolidating, cataloging, but that seems to be where the numbers are going. It’s about 2 million frames between the timelapses and the conventional landscape studies.
Talasek: That is really incredible, James. So Katharine, let’s hear from you. How did you find yourself as a climate scientist and living in Texas too, I might add—that’s an interesting place to be working?
Hayhoe: And I’m a scientist who does a lot of communication as well. So, a bit of a similar arc to James there, starting with the science, but then recognizing that when we’re talking about connecting it to people’s lives, there’s more to it than just data and facts. We have to engage people’s hearts, not just their brains, and often we can do that through art, through imagery, through storytelling, through connecting things to people in places that people are familiar with, or places and people that they aren’t, and really evoking that sort of more emotional response. So I began in science, my dad was a science teacher. So I grew up thinking that science was the coolest thing you could possibly study. I mean, who wouldn’t want to know why grass is green or why the sky is blue or why polar bears have black skin?
So, I was studying astronomy and physics as an undergraduate student. I was preparing to go to graduate school to study astrophysics. I was already doing research with professors looking at variable stars and galaxy clustering around quasars, and I needed an extra class to finish my breadth requirements. I looked around and there was a brand new class on climate change over in the geography department. I thought well, that looks interesting, why not take it? Fateful thoughts. So I did, and I was completely shocked because growing up in Canada I learned about climate change and I learned about it as a package of environmental issues—so biodiversity loss, air pollution, deforestation, climate change—issues that are serious and bad, issues that environmentalists care about and environmentalists try to fix and the rest of us wish them well (and watch their documentaries).
That’s the way I thought about climate change. But in taking the class, I was completely shocked to find out first of all, how urgent climate change is. It is already here now, it is not a future issue. But what really changed my perspective was learning that climate change is not only an environmental issue, which of course it is, but climate change is truly an everything issue. As the US military now calls it, climate change is a “threat multiplier.” So it takes issues of access to food and water, it takes our infrastructure and our economy and our national security, it takes our health, and most important of all, it takes issues of poverty and justice and suffering and hunger and inequality, and it exacerbates or magnifies them to the point where we can’t fix anything that’s wrong with this world and with our society if we leave climate change out of the picture. The way I think about it is climate change is not a separate bucket in a row of issues that we care about and we’re trying to work on; climate change is the whole in every single other bucket.
So, no matter who you are, no matter what you care about, no matter what you’re working on, if you’re trying to fix something, anything, we are not going to be able to fix that if we leave climate change out of the picture. That’s when I decided to become a climate scientist, and in my naivete as a student I thought, “Well, it’s so urgent, surely we’ll fix it soon, and then I can go back to studying galaxies.” That was a very long time ago.
I think at this point, if we fixed it and I could quit, I would probably open a yarn store, something that has nothing to do with science and policy and politics. But that’s how I became a climate scientist. And I decided to do policy-relevant research because I knew that people needed to make real-life decisions today that was informed by science, in terms of preparing for the impacts we can no longer avoid, in terms of the motivation for reducing our emissions.
I led the first study for California, and I think the first study in all of North America, that implicitly compared the difference between a higher versus a lower carbon future. And of course, what is that difference? The difference is our choices. It’s human agency that will determine whether our future looks like this or this. But how do we know what choices to make if we don’t know what we’re going to avoid, what the benefits are of action today? So that’s why I became am a climate scientist, that’s why I focus so much of my work on helping decisionmakers make real-life decisions.
But then I moved to Texas. I didn’t move here on my own, my husband is an academic as well and as you know it’s very difficult to find positions at the same university. So he was actually an endowed professor at the University of Notre Dame and I was working at a research center at University of Chicago and doing some consulting and doing some other projects, and we really wanted to find a place where we could both be at the same university. So, it turns out that a university in Texas wanted him and they were willing to make me an offer to get him. That’s how I ended up the only climate scientist within a 250-mile radius in the second most conservative city in the whole United States.
And who knew, but it turned out that that was the perfect place to be a climate scientist if you really wanted to understand first of all, how climate change is affecting people (Texas is the most vulnerable state in the country to climate impacts), if you really want to understand, second of all, the potential for clean energy (Texas is number one in wind and number two in solar of all states in the US), and even most importantly, if you really wanted to understand why people are rejecting 200 years of basic physics because of their politics, living in West Texas is the perfect place to be. And so that’s why I do just as much communication as I do science these days. And that’s why I’ve so immersed myself in this social science of how we as humans interact with information. Because it isn’t enough to just give people facts and maps of Greenland and Antarctica and tell them how much the ice sheets are melting; people need to understand why that matters, how it affects them personally, and most importantly what they themselves can do about it.
So, that’s why my latest project was to write a book called Saving Us—not saving the planet, because the planet will be orbiting the sun long after we’re gone. But quite literally, it’s us, we are the ones on the chopping block. Our civilization is most at risk.
Balog: What city in Texas are you based in, the university?
Hayhoe: So, the university is Texas Tech. Thank you, James, I totally forgot that part of the story. It’s Texas Tech University and it is in the city of Lubbock, Texas. If anybody’s curious, the most conservative city in the US, according to the survey I’m quoting was, Provo, Utah, home to Brigham Young University, and I have spoken there too, and the second is Lubbock.
Balog: Well, I’ve been down in that country quite a bit and I picture you being pictured by the residents of that area as being some sort of hippy, liberal, crazy, wiggy outlier. You’re not working within the main intellectual framework that that part of the world works within. So is that good for you? You’ve already touched on that, it gives you a chance to understand what the other folks are thinking about, but does it make it problematic?
Hayhoe: It absolutely does and first of all, may I say how much I like the adjective “wiggy.” I think I’m going to have to use that in the future. Although, this hair is all my own, as of today. Yes, so moving there was really interesting because I’m a Canadian, and I already had moved to a different country which was the United States—but then I felt like I moved to a different country, which was Texas. Especially West Texas. Not Austin, not big metropolises like the DFW area or Houston.
You really hit the nail on the head, James; it is not easy at all. In fact, I get hate mail on a daily basis. Daily. Handwritten letters, typed letters, phone calls, attacks on social media.I have a rule: I don’t read the comment sections online, and I have another rule: I don’t answer my phone when I don’t know who’s calling. Because unfortunately, there is a lot of opposition, and I see it almost like as a mission to show people that who they already are is already the perfect person to care, and if they don’t think they care, it’s simply because they haven’t connected the values they already have—which might not be the same values as me, but in some cases they might be the same values as me—they haven’t connected what they already care about to how climate change is already affecting them today and how climate solutions truly can make it better.
So it isn’t easy and there’s a lot of pushback, and in a way I feel like the pushback I get is proportional to how effective the message is. Because if I wasn’t making people uncomfortable, they wouldn’t be pushing back at me like that. So it is hard and it is challenging and I definitely feel like I’ve been pushing a boulder uphill for a very long time, but the way I feel is this, if we can change in Texas, I think we can change anywhere. And I am seeing changes in Texas today because of all the hands that are on that boulder. It is definitely not just mine; there are many hands in Texas on that boulder. And if we can change here, I think that could be a catalyst that changes a lot of other places as well, so that’s why it’s worth it.
Talasek: Katharine, you identify as a person of faith as well, and so it seems that you’re in a unique position to speak with and to understand—a lot of times we talk about these things as absolutes, and I was born in Texas too, so I understand and agree with the way that it’s described, but it’s also more. There’s delightful people who really do want to make a better place; we just may not agree on how to do this.
So, I’m wondering for both of you, how do we resolve and how do we bring these different ways of knowing and understanding—whether it’s religious or science or art or just our backgrounds—how do we come together? Because I love what you said earlier, Katharine, that climate change is not a science thing, it’s an everything thing. It’s an issue in all areas and science is an important tool through which we can address that, but so is art and so is religion and so is our belief structures. So I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about maybe how do you talk to other people of faith about something that is not assumed to be congruent with that?
Hayhoe: I love that you brought that up because that’s exactly what I feel like I’ve learned. We often assume that if people are doing things or saying things that we don’t agree with, that they lack morals or they lack ethics. We often judge people very severely if we see them saying or doing things that we don’t agree with. But when we spend the time to actually get to know people, we realize that in fact they do have very strongly held morals and ethics, and we might agree with all or most or even all of those, but they’re just drawing different conclusions based on the culture that we live in, the ideology that we’re part of, the life experience that we have, the people that we’re surrounded with, the thought leaders who we listen to. And so when we are able to begin our conversations with something we agree on and we have in common, and when we’re able to then connect the dots to how that affects the issue that we’re talking about, that conversation starts and it ends, often, in a very different place than if we begin by actively disagreeing with each other.
For me, a big part of what I connect with people over is things that I share. So obviously I’m a scientist, so I connect with people who love science and want to talk about science. I also live in Texas, so just connecting over the shared experience of where we live in Texas, and the events that we have lived through, and how climate change is loading the weather dice against us, making many of our extremes even more extreme. I’m a mom, and so I connect with people over shared love of our children and shared concern for their future, and that’s part of what led me to help create an organization called Science Moms, that’s for moms who are worried about climate change—which 83% of moms in the US are worried about climate change, and that certainly crosses partisan lines.
But even more deeply, the reason I’m a climate scientist is because I’m a Christian. Because I truly believe that we are not only to be responsible for every living thing on this planet, as it says at the very beginning of the Bible, but also that we are to be recognized by our love for others. And how loving is it to put our fingers in our ears, metaphorically speaking, and close our eyes and say, “I don’t hear, I don’t see the suffering that is already happening around this world, that is already affecting the poorest and most marginalized people right here in Texas, as well as in Southeast Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa, and that is being amplified and exacerbated and magnified by a changing climate”?
Often I do have conversations with people, and that’s part of I think, James, what leads to some cognitive dissonance—which is good. Cognitive dissonance is good. I think of it as we’re always trying to pigeonhole people, So it’s like you meet someone or you hear them say something and you might not like it, so you immediately want to stick that pigeon in a hole so you can categorize, label, and dismiss. Well, so I think of myself as a pigeon, and they’re like, here’s this liberal, hippy dippy, wiggy climate scientist, like you just said, I’m just going to stick her in that hole—that she probably comes from UC Berkeley, she probably has never had to work a hard day’s work in her life, she does not understand what life is like in the middle of the country—and so they’re padding right toward that stereotypical hole to stick the pigeon in. And then I say something like, I’m a Christian, I’m actually a pastor’s wife, I grew up as a missionary kid and the reason I care about climate change is because I’m a Christian.
They’re like, wait a second, that pigeon can’t go in that hole, it doesn’t fit in that hole. So then people have to listen to you for a little bit longer to figure out where to put you, and the longer they listen to you, the more opportunity there is to find those points of connection, those shared values, and maybe they might end up having to create a completely different hole because this pigeon does not fit in any of the holes they thought it did, and that hole might be a lot closer to what they care about than the hole they were going to put you in, which is way over there.
Balog: I want to talk a little bit about questions of belief, because I think that word and everything it implies is so much at the heart of this issue. And this question of belief versus thinking came to me when I was on a flight about 10 years ago, and I was reading a big stack of science papers that I had photocopied. I was coming back from Greenland or someplace, and the man opposite me on the aisle looked over at me and said, “What are you reading?” And I told him it was a stack of papers about climate change. And he said, “Do you believe in that?”—as if to say, what kind of an idiot are you? And I said, “No, I think climate change is happening based on the information that’s in these papers.”
And he said, “Oh, that’s interesting. Well, I don’t believe in climate change, but I live in Minnesota, and we’ve been having tornadoes up there, and we never had tornadoes up there before, and we have these floods now. And so I’ve been thinking that maybe climate change is real.” I said “Well, exactly the point.”
So, what I’ve come to is to express, in an awful lot of the public presentations I do, that we need to get away from the notion of, “Do you believe or not believe in climate change it?” Many, many, many people, I would say a significant majority of people, still use the word belief. “I believe in climate change,” “I don’t believe in climate change,” when they speak about these things. I think it’s critical that we get away from the notion of belief.
My impression and my semantics are that belief is a really good thing to apply to issues that are unknowable, that are spiritual, that are about things we can never know about. But at its highest level, belief is to deal with things of eternity. We don’t know where we came from, we don’t know where we’re going, so we believe in X or Y or Z as a way of giving shape and substance and meaning to the unknowable. But climate and the changing environmental system in the Anthropocene, I don’t think calls for a belief system, I believe it calls for a thought system. Thought, to me, is a more important way, thinking is a more important way of looking at where we are than belief is. And I’m curious to hear you parse that out.
Hayhoe: Well, it’s a podcast so you can’t see how widely I’m smiling, but I love what you said so much, because you’re the only person who I’ve heard parse that out so clearly, other than what I do myself. I have given entire presentations, at Christian colleges or chapel services, where I literally begin by stating “I do not believe in climate change.”
Balog: That’s what I’ve done too! Actually, I’ve had a number of shows where I started with that on the stage, and people are back in their seats like where are we? What’s going on? I thought this guy was talking about climate.
Hayhoe: Exactly. So, what I go on to do and I definitely take a theological perspective on this for people who would identify as Christian. And that’s so important, starting wherever people are at and continuing with that frame of how they think about things. And so being somebody who is from that environment, I then say “Well, let’s look at the definition of what ‘belief’ or ‘faith’ is.”
In the Bible, there’s actually a whole chapter in the book of Hebrews that talks about what faith is, and faith and belief are very similar. It says faith is the evidence of things that we hope for, of matters or proof of things that are not seen. And so I say, “You know, if I was back then, 2,000 years ago, I would’ve jogged the author’s elbow and I would’ve said, ‘Hey, you forgot the second half!’ So, faith is the evidence of what we hope for and we do not see, science is the evidence of what is here now, what we do see. That’s what science is.”
And so I go through the, “I don’t believe that climate is changing. I think it is based on here is the evidence. I don’t believe that it’s humans. We’ve looked at every other thing that there is out there, and we know that according to natural factors, we should be getting gradually cooler right now. And I don’t believe that it’s bad, I know it’s bad, and here’s why I know it’s bad. Here’s what’s happening right here where we live that’s affecting you today”—like that man from Minnesota—“and you can identify with that. But what I believe is I believe that we need to fix it as soon as possible, because my motivation for wanting to fix it comes from my heart.
It comes from really recognizing that, again, the most marginalized peoples, right here in the US as well as on the other side of the world, are being most affected by it. And I believe that we humans have responsibility over every living thing on this earth. And I really believe at all of us—no matter who we are, no matter how we identify—we truly want to, deep down, care for others and have compassion for others and have empathy for others. And when we help people, when we’re part of a solution, we feel better. And part of the reason why we see so much resistance is because people don’t see how they can be part of a solution in a way that’s consistent and compatible with their values. So I end with what is my favorite verse in the Bible, which is a verse that talks about our emotions.
It says, God has not given you a spirit of fear. So when we experience fear, which we so often do, right?—on both ends of the spectrum. So, there’s fear of what’s going to happen if we don’t fix climate change, which is a completely justified fear, in my opinion. And then, on the other hand, denial is based in fear. It’s fear of solutions that’s motivating denial; it’s not rejection of basic physics we’ve known for 200 years. If it was, they would also reject airplanes and stoves and fridges, but they don’t—they only reject climate science. That’s how we know it isn’t the science; they’re just afraid of what it would look like if we fixed it.
So it says, God has not given you a spirit of fear, but rather a spirit of power, which means agency, the ability to act, which is the opposite of what fear does, it paralyzes you, a spirit of love, to think about others and care for others, and then this is my favorite part: a sound mind, to make good decisions based on the information that science gives you. And is that not what climate change is? We can tackle climate change, being empowered, having agency to act, caring for others, and with a sound mind that’s informed by science.
I have a question I would love to ask James, which is: for many years now, I have used your movie Chasing Ice in my classes as required viewing. And because I’m curious, I always ask my students what part of this module, in terms of the lectures, the readings, the activities, or the viewings, really stood out to you? And I have to say that most times, they pick a scene from Chasing Ice.
Often it’s when the glacier falls into the ocean, just crashes into the ocean, but sometimes it’s different parts of that movie, and they talk about how it wasn’t just the facts and figures and statistics about what is happening in Greenland or Antarctica or anywhere else that hit them—it was just that visual, visceral image that hit them right in the chest and made them realize that this is real and this matters and this is incredibly powerful. I imagine that what I’m saying is not new to you, I imagine you’ve heard this from many people. So what do you feel like you’ve learned from that process? And you mentioned that you’re actually making Chasing Ice 2 now, what did you learn from that process that you’re now putting into practice today in terms of really engaging people and helping them understand how real this is, how urgent it is, and why it matters so much?
Balog: Well, it’s amazing, you and I are circling around the same issues in very similar ways. It’s really great to be with you having this conversation. You mentioned a little while ago about the relationship between faith and science—I think about the relationship art and science. I’ve come to realize that science is accessing one part of our cognitive processes, let’s call it the left side of your brain, supposedly, that’s quantitative, rational response to measurable things, whereas art is supposedly the right side of your brain responding to subjective, intuitive, emotional experience, the images themselves, but the stories that go with them provide a human connection that those dry numbers simply don’t.
Many years ago, I heard an anthropologist on the radio speaking about how the signal characteristics of the human mind are that we look for patterns and we seek stories about those patterns.Well, science is the patterns, and art is basically the expression of the stories about those patterns. So when those two things come together, light bulbs go off, but the key part of it, the secret sauce, is that the imagery and looking at guys risking their lives in these dangerous places for the sake of collecting the story really touches people. And I’ve heard over and over again at that one part in Chasing Ice where I’ve wrecked my knee and I’m on crutches out there at midnight shooting icebergs really affects people—because so many people have had injuries and so many people have been beaten down psychologically the way I was, and I just refused to let myself not get a good picture from that trip. And people appreciate that somebody put their neck on the block for that. It’s human, in other words, and they enjoy that.
And in the meeting that we’re having on Monday, one of the debates will be this broader thing we talked about earlier that all these different issues of environmental change are connected with climate, and they’re connected with the human condition. And it’s vitally important that we understand things in that holistic fashion. I use a term that I think I am the one who invented, I use the term “human tectonics.” We know about the concept of plate tectonics, that the earth is broken into these rock slabs and they’re crashing into each other and it makes earthquakes and volcanoes and whatever, but I propose that humanity is its own form of tectonic force, and so I use the word human tectonics to express the collective accumulated weight of all of these things that we do. Our population multiplied by our needs for survival multiplied by our desires for affluence and multiplied by our technologies. You multiply all at stuff together, that’s an incredible amount of force on the biological system. Maybe not on the continental plates, but certainly on the biological system and on the air and the water and the weather.
Hayhoe: I love that phrase and I love that concept and I’ve never heard that phrase before, so I will attribute it to you from now on, because so many people speak very simplistically about solutions. They say, the problem is too many people. Just get rid of the people and we’ll fix the problem. Well okay, if you got rid of all humans on the planet, sure, that would fix the problem. But as a human myself, I would like to see my children continue into the future and grandchildren and so on. But the way you put it is clearly, human population part of it—but there’s so many other plates at work, to where we know now that the 3.5 billion poorest people on the planet have produced 7% of our carbon emissions. So, if there was a Marvel-movie-Thanos-type movement where Thanos snapped his magic glove and removed half the people on the planet, if it was the poorest half of the people on the planet, it wouldn’t even make the tiniest dent in our climate problem.
And that’s because of all those other tectonic plates that you talked about. It’s the way our population interacts with technology, the economy, resource use, and more, and that’s why climate solutions, I think, are so powerful. Because good climate solutions, and of course there’s bad ones too, but good climate solutions, they have benefits here and now today—like cleaning up air, cleaning up our water, providing habitat, preventing zoonosis, efficiency, which saves us money, improving the quality of our food, increasing our health. They have all these win, win, win, win, wins, and then they help with climate change too. It’s almost like an afterthought, like yeah, they’ll help with climate change too. But there’s so many good things to do today that we have every reason to do.
It’s incredibly frustrating when we see the obstacles to sensible actions today that give us healthier lives. Just knowing that 10 million people around the world every year die prematurely from air pollution from burning fossil fuels—that’s double the number of COVID, but it happens every year from air pollution. You can probably hear the anger in my voice when I speak about this, like how can we live in a world where that happens? It isn’t because the number of people, it’s because of those tectonic plates or those different pressure points, we have to learn how to live a different way because it will give us better lives, it will give us healthier lives, it will give us happier lives—oh, and it will fix climate change too.
Balog: Katharine, you come across as the happiest, most optimistic, angry person I’ve ever seen.
Hayhoe: I love that. I think I might have to make an embroidery of that and put it on my wall.
Talasek: This has been the most wonderful conversation and I hate to be the one to have to bring it to a close. It’s just been a joy to hear both of you talk from different perspectives and yet find commonality in the things that I heard that are so important, so beneficial to how we think about each other and how we communicate with each other to move towards positive change.
Thank you to everyone for joining us for this episode of The Ongoing Transformation, and thank you to our guests, James Balog and Katharine Hayhoe. To learn more about their work, visit their websites at katharinehayhoe.com or earthvisioninstitute.org. James’s latest book is called The Human Element and his latest movie shares the same name. Katharine’s latest book is Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, and you can find her on all social media platforms.
Find links to these resources and more in our show notes. Please subscribe to The Ongoing Transformation wherever you get your podcasts. Email us at [email protected] with any comments or suggestions. If you enjoy conversations like this one, visit us at issues.org and consider subscribing to our magazine. I’m JD Talasek, director of Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences. Thanks for joining us.