Rational Hope

Dr. Hayhoe understands how important it is to walk the line between knowing the science of climate change and articulating a positive vision for the future, and she does that well. As she said in her TED Talk, “What we need to fix this thing is rational hope.”

My childhood all runs together, so I don’t actually know how old I was. Maybe seven or eight years old? That seems a reasonable approximation. Let’s go with it.

Much like other boys my age, baseball was a part of my life. I was strong defensively and capable of playing anywhere in the infield, with good contact at the plate but zero power. Coach (also known as my Dad) would have probably called me an excellent utility player.

One day, Coach/Dad took me to a Georgia Tech baseball game, and we arrived early to watch players warm up. At the time, Georgia Tech had an excellent program with several players who would go on to have long careers in Major League Baseball. One of those was Tech’s star catcher Jason Varitek, who would win two World Series in his 15-year career with the Boston Red Sox. That particular evening, Varitek was kind enough to sign the glove of this seven or eight-year-old.

Then that seven or eight-year-old was a dummy and lost the glove within a year. Ugh.

Anyway, I remember that feeling of awe and admiration as he signed my glove, and I’m sure it’s one that we’ve all felt when we meet our heroes. The funny thing is, our heroes change. As I grew up, I fell out of love with baseball, so the sting of losing that particular glove wore off. Today, Tony Bennett is probably the only person in sports whom I would consider a hero, and that has more to do with his personal values than his coaching prowess. Most of my heroes today are in other fields, but the feeling would be the same – I’d fanboy all over again if I got the chance to meet them.

One of those heroes is Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. A climate scientist from Texas Tech University, she is one of the most authentic and effective speakers I’ve ever seen on this topic. I’d encourage you to view her 2018 TED Talk. There is so much brilliance in it, including her encouragement that simply talking about climate change is one of the most important things we can all do. Hear, hear!

Dr. Hayhoe understands how important it is to walk the line between knowing the science and articulating a positive vision for the future, and she does that well. As she said in her TED Talk, “What we need to fix this thing is rational hope.” I agree, and with rational hope, we can’t help but see the tremendous opportunities that come along with rising to the challenge of global warming.

I spent an entire chapter writing about the opportunity-side of global warming for business and industry in Mid-Course Correction Revisited. I’d be glad if you gave it a read, but I want to stress that our changing climate is much more about how we will LIVE on this planet than how we will WORK on this planet. The opportunity to create a more socially just and naturally vibrant world is what excites me the most.

Fortunately, superheroes like Dr. Hayhoe are helping to articulate that vision. If I’m lucky, I might get to meet her one day. If I’m super lucky, maybe she’ll sign my glove! 

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