Faith and Climate Change

  • By Ana Aceves
  • Posted 04.18.18
  • NOVA

Faith and climate science are not at odds, says evangelical meteorologist Paul Douglas.

Running Time: 02:02


Faith and Climate Change

Published April 18, 2018

Paul Douglas: I was raised Baptist Lutheran and Presbyterian…But I am a Christian. I was skeptical about climate change for much of the '80s and '90s.

Onscreen: Paul Douglas has has been a meteorologist for over 40 years.

But by the late '90’s, it was almost like that was a light switch. It was a whole new weather pattern.

I noticed that the rhythm of the atmosphere seemed off. We were seeing more intense rains, a longer growing season, fickle winter snows. Those extreme events were happening with greater frequency and greater intensity.

How many times does that have to happen before it's not a fluke, but it's a trend? I really wrestled with that. Well, maybe this is a coincidence. After the 23rd coincidence, I scratched my head and said, maybe this is a trend.

That was the ‘aha' moment just responding to these extreme events. That's when I broadened my vision, looked more at the scientific research and said, oh my god, it's not just here, it's nationwide, it's worldwide.

I have to be true to the data and what the data tells me. And so, it is with climate change. If you really take the time and drill down and look at the trends, look at the data, it's warming.

Science is a tool. Science is not a replacement for faith. There is a place for faith and there is a place for science.

I'm on the board of the Evangelical Environmental Network. People are amazed when they hear those words next to each other. Evangelical Environmental? Yeah. Ministers, scientists, concerned about short-term health implications of pollution and the long-term climate implications, especially for the poorest among us.

Every faith&medash;Islam, Judaism, Christianity. We have an obligation to keep our eyes wide open and to be responsible and to take actions to try to mitigate some of these profoundly negative impacts that these volatile climate is going to have.

We're going to figure this out because in the end, we are not going to have a choice.



Digital Producer
Ana Aceves
Written, Produced, and Directed by
Doug Hamilton
Caitlin Saks
© WGBH Educational Foundation 2018

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