- (Photo: Showtime screencap)
An evangelical Christian scientist has been named one of TIME's 100 most influential people in the world for her work with the environment and advocacy for action on climate change.
"I am honored to be included in the TIME 100 list," Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, scientific adviser to the Evangelical Environmental Network and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, said after the announcement.
"Even more so, I am encouraged to see climate change emerging as an urgent concern. With 97 percent of climate scientists agreeing that climate change is happening due to the choices people make every day, I am a spokesperson with one principal goal – to bring public awareness to the simple truth that the scientific debate is over, and now it's time for all of us to take action. I'm grateful to TIME for bringing further visibility to my work and to everyone who is standing up to climate change around the world," she added.
TIME's feature on Hayhoe, written by actor and U.N. Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador Don Cheadle, states that the evangelical Christian scientist defies stereotypes.
"It's hard to be a good steward of the planet if you don't accept the hard science behind what's harming it, and it can be just as hard to take action to protect our world if you don't love it as the rare gift it is. For many people, that implies a creator," Cheadle writes, who worked with Hayhoe on Showtime's climate documentary "Years of Living Dangerously."
Besides her work with the EEN, Hayhoe and her husband, evangelical pastor Andrew Farley, wrote the 2009 book A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions, which Cheadle described as the "defining book for the planet-loving believer."
The Rev. Mitch Hescox, EEN's president & CEO, stated that Hayhoe "demonstrates that a person of strong evangelical faith can also be a world-class scientist."
"She understands that creation-care is truly a matter of life and speaks to churches and conservative groups across the country to demonstrate the need to take prudent steps to address climate change," Hescox added.
"Her particular scientific specialization has allowed her to help communities and organizations across the country and around the world understand how to prepare for the impacts of climate change."
The EEN president added that A Climate for Change has been a very important book when it comes to educating the evangelical church on environmental issues.
Hayhoe has talked about the importance of faith in her work:
"It's not about saving the planet: the planet will be fine without us. It's about helping people, real people who are being affected by climate change today. Higher energy bills for air conditioning, freak rainstorms, and droughts wiping out their food supply, rising sea level threatening their homes and fields. It's the poor and disadvantaged who are being hardest hit: those very people the Bible tells us to care for."
Texas Tech President M. Duane Nellis also shared her praise for Hayhoe, calling her inclusion on TIME's 100 list "a tremendous honor and recognition."
"Her passion and caliber of work provides a snapshot of the high quality of faculty we have at Texas Tech University," Nellis commented.
TIME has said that its top 100 list is not of the most powerful or smartest people in the world, but of the most influential:
"They're scientists, they're thinkers, they're philosophers, they're leaders, they're icons, they're artists, they're visionaries. People who are using their ideas, their visions, their actions to transform the world and have an effect on a multitude of people."