What changed your mind about climate change?

Question: What changed your mind about global warming?

Richard Cizik: Well my mindset prior to going to Oxford 2002 Climate Change – that’s the name of the conference I was invited to – was look, there is a debate going on about the science of climate change. I don’t need to get into that. “Scientists dispute this,” I said to myself. I don’t have a dog in that fight. What happened? Well I was presented with the science by not only the world’s most credible scientist. The conclusion of course being that climate change is real. It will impact millions upon millions, and that the science was indisputable. Indisputable. And when confronted in this case by science . . . never mind the Bible. I … I thought I knew the bible. But when confronted with climate change, global warming in particular that threatens not just for example a river or lake, but the entire planet, virtually knocked me off my feet. Almost like a John the Baptist conversion in which he fell off a donkey on the road to Damascus. It literally knocked me off my feet and I said, “My God.” I said, “I’ve never seen this before,” the facts as presented. And then to have a fellow Christian, a scientist, one of the most premier scientists, the science advisor moreover to the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to say to me, “Richard, if you are persuaded of the science . . .” This is what Sir John … said to me… “If you’re persuaded of the science, you can’t be quiet.” I knew in my heart he was right. And yet I also knew there would be a price to pay. And so I left Oxford in 2002 persuaded that yes, the science was indisputable; but … I would say, about the prospect of speaking out. Because even my closest friends opposed the idea of me doing that.


When confronted with the scientific proof climate change and global warming in particular for the entire planet, Richard Cizik was virtually knocked off his feet.

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Keep reading Show less

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
Keep reading Show less