I often hear CSC alum reflect on their favorite plenary speakers over the last 17 years. We have scores of outstanding candidates to draw from. For example, Francis Collins is often mentioned for his brilliant insights, research in science and his strong Christian faith. It helps lasting impressions that Collins involved himself in multiple sessions, engaging the conference in a variety of ways.
My reasoned expectation is that our 2022 opening plenary, Katharine Hayhoe, will be Collins-esque in her appeal.
Hayhoe is the Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, Distinguished Professor at Texas Tech University and a principal investigator for the Department of Interior's South-Central Climate Adaptation Science Center and the National Science Foundation's Global Infrastructure Climate Network.
Her research currently focuses on establishing a scientific basis for assessing the regional to local-scale impacts of climate change on human systems and the natural environment. To this end, she analyzes observations, compares future scenarios, evaluates global and regional climate models, and strives to develop better ways of translating climate projections into information relevant to agriculture, ecosystems, energy, infrastructure, public health, and water resources.
Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist who does not accept global warming on faith. Rather, she crunches the data, analyzes the models and helps engineers and city managers and ecologists quantify the impacts.
She makes the case that climate change isn't just an environmental issue - it's a "threat multiplier." That is, climate change takes the most serious humanitarian issues - hunger, poverty, lack of access to clean water, injustice, refugee crises and more - and makes them worse.
Hayhoe is a committed Christian, a stunningly effective communicator and a delightful human being. She speaks so that we are able to hear.
And, like the scientist who graced our conference a few years back, she will engage us in a multiple ways throughout this year's conference.
PS: This year we hope to create and build on the momentum created by Hayhoe's presence. I am thankful for the stellar work by Dodd Galbreath (Lipscomb University) and Chris Doran (Pepperdine University), creating several vibrant sessions in sustainability. A Sustainability Section is now being formed to ensure that generative, roundtable and peer view sessions in the field continue at the 2023 CSC and beyond.