Book review: Saving Us by Katharine Hayhoe
“It took a pandemic to bring us together”.
The first line of “Saving Us” preface gives us a good idea of where Katharine Hayhoe will take us. Through conversations with colleagues, interaction on social media like Twitter, professional conferences and the like, Hayhoe explains how we have more in common than not when explaining climate science and what to do about it. However, Hayhoe lives in Texas and a devout Christian. But I digress, more on that later.
I am an Environmental Safety Scientist and we learn that all of the sciences are related. Our main function is how can we protect and optimize human and living species safety in our surroundings. In the preface Hayhoe summarizes how we went from a pandemic mindset to arguing about contradictions, masking and countries too impoverished to employ modern precautions. Yet still by the end, the book maintains we have more in common than not and how to act on it when it comes to mitigating (removing) and adapting to manmade climate change.
She goes through the possible suspects like cyclic temperatures, the sun conditions, and even volcanoes. I loved the fact that most times she kept the science rather light and remembered to convert Celsius (C) to Fahrenheit (F). In summary, countries and indeed the world need to keep rising global temperatures within 1.7C or 2.8F by 2030 to try and maintain our current way of life. As I’ve explained to countless schools, conferences and within interviews, it will get ugly, but man and woman (and most animals & botany life) will survive. The transportation industry, the meat industry, and specially fossil fuels release carbon dioxide, CO2, which traps heat. Thus rising temperatures and it’s consequences which include the more severe and frequent storms, melting glaciers, land erosion and loss of animal biodiversity are occurring. The latter being mostly from human sprawl, deforestation, environmental degradation and even poaching. Hayhoe explains how she doesn’t run from a debate on social media or even in person. It’s better to try and find common ground and go from there. She should know. Hayhoe is about the best in the business.
Now I try and stay away from religion. There are a few countries right now at war over that very same issue. But here goes.. Hayhoe brings up the Bible at various points in her book. Now I’ve always heard that the Bible for over 300 years has been said to have been used in support of black Africans kidnapped and brought here to be slaves. Farmers, architects, medicinal doctors, teachers, all bought here and made into slaves and KEPT in that regard by people who believed in that very same Bible. Hayhoe states and I paraphrase, God gives us power to act with compassion and love. She goes on to say in that love you should be able to speak with truth, courage and understanding. If it was only so. For six hundred years Indigenous People and African Americans have said not so fast, SPECIALLY in Texas. NEXT!
Hayhoe goes on to explain how climate change is a pro-life issue, meaning from conception to death. Still unsure how the subject made its way into this book. Of course humans are trying to live with the egregious meteorological changes our world has been facing, but the animal kingdom and plant life want to live and that has nothing to do with pro-life. Its pro-survival for all. She explains and rightly so how higher education and better economic options can lead to decreased infant mortality and abortions, using examples of women in Mali, Malawi and Uganda. But Hayhoe never mentions men anywhere in this section. If the issue of abortion is ever to be solved, men MUST be involved and I’m not confident Texas will be the state to solve it.
Now we all know humans must adapt to the changing tides. Adapt or get flooded or burned out. However “Saving US” is a must read. Hayhoe can explain the most complicated science theory with a smile. She is an excellent communicator and top notch scientist. That’s why I read her books, for the science. I named my company In A Green Minute because you need to be able to explain scientific concepts in 60 seconds or less, or why bother? People don’t need to be degreed scientists to understand and engage in climate science and environmental activism. We all know full scale mass transport, electric vehicles, enhanced green spaces, alternatives to many meats, human migration inward off our coasts among other adaptations will be the norm. We, as in you and I may not be here to see it, but the human race and its living counterparts shall be. It's about saving all of us, with equity and pride. If the Ford F150 Truck and Harley Davidson Motorcycle can go electric, there’s hope.
About the Author of “Saving Us”, Katharine Hayhoe
Katharine Hayhoe is a renowned international climate scientist and chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy. She is a Professor at Texas Tech University and has been named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People. She is the climate ambassador for World Evangelical Alliance and World Vision Canada. Katharine has a BS in Physics & astronomy from the University of Toronto and a MS/PhD in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois. “Saving Us” can be purchased at http://katharinehayhoe.com/.
Connect with me: @inagreenminute (Twitter and Instagram)