My friend Paul Douglas calls himself an albino unicorn. He is a Republican (one of my few Republican friends!) and an evangelical Christian (one of my few evangelical Christian friends!) who is extremely well informed about climate change, and who acts on a day to day basis as a climate warrior, informing people of the realities of climate change at several levels.
I tend to think of Paul as a tire, because he is where the rubber meets the road. His job is informing corporations and such about the risks they are facing right now, today, tomorrow, next week with respect to weather. Paul has been doing some sort of meteorology or another for quite a while now, having been a TV presenter meteorologist in Chicago and the Twin Cities, having consulted in Hollywood (Jurassic Park and Twister), and having run various metrology companies like the one he runs now. He also gives talks around the Twin Cities and elsewhere about climate change, writes a regular column for the Star Tribune, and has consulted for or testified for various government agencies on long term climate change risks.
Paul and I have somewhat similar histories. Born only a few weeks apart, raised in the non-urban part of a semi-industrialized semi-rural eastern state (New York for me, Pennsylvania for him), and having had formative weather experiences early in life. In Paul’s case, it was a major hurricane that eventually lumbered into the mountainous areas of Central Pennsylvania, causing killer floods and other mayhem. Paul, a teenager at the time, and a scout, developed an early warning system for river floods, and probably earning one hella merit badge.
Paul is an excellent explainer of climate and weather, as you can learn from this interview. And, he does not restrict his communication efforts to places like churches or whatever venues are frequented by Evangelical Christians such as lutefisk breakfasts, snake handling session, etc. In fact, the aforementioned interview is on Atheist Talk Radio.
And now, Paul has co-authored a book on climate change written specifically for Evangelicals: Caring for Creation: The Evangelical’s Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment.
The book’s structure swaps back and forth between science (the parts written by Paul Douglas) and scripture (the parts written by co-author Mitch Hescox). I don’t know Mitch, but from the blurb I learn: “Mitch Hescox leads the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), the largest evangelical group dedicated to creation care (www.creationcare.org). He has testified before Congress, spoken at the White House, and is quoted frequently in national press. Prior to EEN, he pastored a church for 18 years and worked in the coal industry. Mitch and his wife live in Pennsylvania.”
Now, you might think that the chances of an Evangelical Christian reading my blog is about zero. This is not true. Many Christians, ranging from Evangelical to less-than-angelical read this blog, they just don’t say much in the comments section. Except those who do, mainly those denying the science of climate change. Well, this book is for all of you, especially the Evangelical deniers, because here, the case is made on your terms and in your language, in a very convincing way, and, including the science. It turns out that, according to the Bible, you are wrong on the Internet.
Let’s say that you are a fairly active atheist who likes to annoy your Christian relatives at holidays. If that is the case, then this book is for you!! This is the book to give to your Uncle Bob.
I can’t attest to the scriptural parts of this book. This is not because I’m unfamiliar with Scripture or have nothing to say about it. Both assumptions would be highly erroneous. But, in fact, I did not explore those parts of this book in much detail, just a little. But I am very familiar with the science in this book, I’ve delved deeply into it, and I can tell you that Paul has it right, and it is very current.
From the publisher:
Forget the confusing doom and gloom talk about climate change. You want to know the truth about what’s happening, how it could affect your family and the world, and more important, if there are realistic ways to do something about it-even better, solutions that reflect your beliefs.
Connecting the dots between science and faith, pastor and influential evangelical leader Mitch Hescox and veteran meteorologist Paul Douglas show how Christians can take the lead in caring for God’s creation. Tackling both personal and global issues, these trusted authors share ways to protect our families, as well as which action steps will help us wisely steward the resources God has given us.
This hopeful book offers a much-needed conservative, evangelical approach to a better way forward-one that improves our health, cleans up our communities, and leaves our kids a better world.
What I find exceptional about Paul Douglas’s conversation about weather, aside from the fact that he well commands an audience of those who might otherwise be naysayers, is that he brings decades of direct observation of actual climate change into the discussion. He has been a) reporting the weather during the periods of maximal change so far, b) while paying close attention and c) never had his mind shut down to ignore climate change, as has happened in the past to so many meteorologists.
The book is loaded with helpful greyscale graphics, and notes/references. Paul is at @pdouglasweather
The book launches on November 15th (see you at the launch?) but is available now.