“An optimistic view on why collective action is still possible—and how it can be realized.” —The New York Times
“As far as heroic characters go, I’m not sure you could do better than Katharine Hayhoe.” —Scientific American
“A must-read if we’re serious about enacting positive change from the ground up, in communities, and through human connections and human emotions.” —Margaret Atwood, Twitter
United Nations Champion of the Earth, climate scientist, and evangelical Christian Katharine Hayhoe changes the debate on how we can save our future.
Called “one of the nation's most effective communicators on climate change” by The New York Times, Katharine Hayhoe knows how to navigate all sides of the conversation on our changing planet. A Canadian climate scientist living in Texas, she negotiates distrust of data, indifference to imminent threats, and resistance to proposed solutions with ease. Over the past fifteen years Hayhoe has found that the most important thing we can do to address climate change is talk about it—and she wants to teach you how.
In Saving Us, Hayhoe argues that when it comes to changing hearts and minds, facts are only one part of the equation. We need to find shared values in order to connect our unique identities to collective action. This is not another doomsday narrative about a planet on fire. It is a multilayered look at science, faith, and human psychology, from an icon in her field—recently named chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy.
Drawing on interdisciplinary research and personal stories, Hayhoe shows that small conversations can have astonishing results. Saving Us leaves us with the tools to open a dialogue with your loved ones about how we all can play a role in pushing forward for change.
Practical advice abounds in this compassionate guide to conducting meaningful discussions about the environment from climate scientist Hayhoe (All We Can Save). Aiming to show "how to have conversations" that " genuine relationships and communities," Hayhoe casts aside the notion of believers versus deniers and instead makes use of a grouping system devised by researchers Tony Leiserowitz and Ed Maibach that divides people into six categories: the alarmed, concerned, cautious, disengaged, doubtful, and dismissive. It is easier to target messages, Hayhoe notes, when one better understands the audience: if talking to someone doubtful, for instance, scientific explanations can help change their minds, but taking the same approach with dismissives will lead to them doubling down on their rejection. The author also considers the emotions of fear and guilt that come up when talking about the health of the planet, and suggests it's key to channel these emotions into a belief that things can be fixed. Above all, Hayhoe's advice comes down to bonding and connecting with people; a way to begin, she writes, is to ask "Because of what we both care about, why might climate change matter to us?" While some may find her outlook a bit rose-tinged "We can fix it. There are solutions" those in search of a hope-filled approach will find plenty of encouragement.