Texas Tech University

Hayhoe Chosen as Top 10 Environmental Leader by Huffington Post

George Watson

May 8, 2015

The media company recognized the Climate Science Center director for her effort in bridging the gap in communicating climate change effects to the general public.

Katharine Hayhoe
Katharine Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe's reputation as one of the world's leading experts on climate change continues to grow.

Hayhoe, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, was named to the top 10 list of environmental leaders by Huffington Post.

“I appreciate this recognition on behalf of the work that I and so many others do to reach out to people and communities who aren't typically engaged on environmental issues,” Hayhoe said. “Framing climate change as an ‘environmental issue' is really part of the challenge that lets so many of us dismiss it as yet another green, liberal issue. Climate change affects our environment and our planet, but it also affects so many things we already care about for human society – our health, our water, our energy, the economy and even the fundamental security of the world we live in.”

The Huffington Post top 10 list is part of a celebration of the organization's 10th anniversary, which was released on Thursday (May 7). Post editors sought to recognize leaders who are reshaping the environmental movement now and into the future. Hayhoe was chosen for her work in bridging the gaps in communication of climate change to the general public.

“Her work is helping make people not only better understand climate change, but inspiring them to action in their own lives,” said Kate Sheppard, senior reporter and the energy and environment editor for the Huffington Post. “In short, climate science needs more Katharine Hayhoes.”

An evangelical Christian, Hayhoe's research focuses on the impacts of climate change on human life on a local and regional scale and communicating the realities of climate change.

Hayhoe, who holds bachelor's degrees in physics and astronomy from the University of Toronto and master's and doctorate degrees in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois, also is a principal investigator for the U.S. Department of the Interior's South-Central Climate Science Center.

She has produced more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, abstracts, publications and reports for organizations such as the U.S. Global Change Research Program's Second and Third National Climate Assessment and the U.S. National Academy of Science.

She also has served as a scientific adviser to Citizen's Climate Lobby, the EcoAmerica MomentUS project, the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, the Evangelical Environmental Network and the International Women's Earth and Climate Initiative. She's also served on the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climate Predictions and Projections team and the NOAA Climate.gov advisory team.

In 2014, she was named to the TIME 100, an annual list of the most influential people in the world, and to Foreign Policy magazine's publication of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers. Her focus on educating the public about how climate change affects the everyday lives of all humans has made her so influential.

“We don't have to become what many of us picture environmentalists to be to care about climate change,” Hayhoe said. “Are we a parent who would do anything we could to secure our child's safe and happy future? Are we a business person who wants a stable and thriving economy? Are we a farmer, a rancher or a producer who wants to ensure we have enough water to grow our crops? Do we live in one of the world's largest cities, two-thirds of which lies within just a few feet of sea level, putting our home at risk? Are we Christian, people who are called to be responsible for God's creation and to love and care for others as Christ loved us?

“I believe that nearly everyone on this planet has all the values they need to care about climate change. We just have to connect the dots.”

The Huffington Post's list of top 10 environmental leaders can be found here.