An evangelical scientist shows 'Full Frontal' how to talk to climate change doubters.

Fewer than half of Americans think climate change will pose a threat to their way of life within their lifetimes.

They should hear about Tangier Island.

The island, located in the Chesapeake Bay off the coast of Virginia's mainland, is quite literally sinking into the sea. Since 1850, its land mass has decreased by two-thirds, and scientific estimates suggest that within the next half century, it'll be completely uninhabitable.


Tangier Mayor James Eskridge insists that the real issue is erosion. Appearing at a CNN town hall with former Vice President Al Gore, Eskridge asked why he hadn't noticed any signs of rising sea levels — even as his island sinks into the sea.

On Tangier Island, however, Esktridge's view is far from uncommon.

"Full Frontal With Samantha Bee" correspondent Allana Harkin recently traveled to Tangier Island.

Along the way, she learned a few techniques for having productive conversations with climate change doubters.

Many of Tangier's residents are evangelical Christians, a group that is made up of some of the statistically least likely Americans to believe in man-made climate change. Some residents interviewed rolled their eyes at Harkin when she stated that she believed in things like climate change and evolution, and others suggested that even if climate change is real, it's fine because they'll be raptured away.

A Tangier resident named George has no interest in hearing what Al Gore has to say about climate change. All images via Full Frontal With Samantha Bee/YouTube.

Unable to get through to residents using conventional arguments, Harkin turned to Dr. Katherine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and evangelical Christian, for help.

"Just saying, 'Oh, God will take care of it' or 'It doesn't matter,' is actually a profoundly un-Christian perspective," said Hayhoe — who has a positive track record of getting through to doubtful evangelicals on this subject — in the segment. "In the Bible, it says God will destroy those who destroy the Earth."

When Harkin asked what steps she could take to convince those who dispute climate science on the basis of religious grounds, Hayhoe highlighted the importance of listening, not just lecturing, and asking for their stories.

"Rather than coming and in and saying, 'I know,' 'I'm gonna tell you,' 'You listen to me,' the place to start is by sharing from the heart: What is it that we have in common?"

Katherine Hayhoe delivers a talk on rebutting climate change denial among evangelicals.

With Hayhoe's advice in mind, Harkin revisited the first group, and, well, it went sorta kinda OK!

This time, instead of challenging their entire worldviews, Harken tried a different tactic. "Let me throw this out there, and we'll let it land. We won't even have to discuss it," Harkin said. "What if climate scientists are actually doing God's work?" The room was stunned into silence. You could practically see the exact moment the walls of distrust started to come down.

Addressing the question in a way that made sense with their view of the world elicited a stunned, thoughtful silence and some nods from the group. "He works through everybody," said one man. "Yeah, He can work through them," said another, nodding.

Harkin moderates a discussion among Tangier residents.

Though the segment ends without any converts to the side of truth, science, and not standing by as their island disappears forever, Harkin and the Tangier Island residents had an important conversation that could signal the first steps in saving the island from the effects of climate change.

Watch the "What's Happening to Tangier Island" segment from "Full Frontal With Samantha Bee" below.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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One little girl took pictures of her school lunches. The Internet responded — and so did the school.

If you listened to traditional news media (and sometimes social media), you'd begin to think the Internet and technology are bad for kids. Or kids are bad for technology. Here's a fascinating alternative idea.

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This article originally appeared on 03.31.15

Kids can innovate, create, and imagine in ways that are fresh and inspiring — when we "allow" them to do so, anyway. Despite the tendency for parents to freak out because their kids are spending more and more time with technology in schools, and the tendency for schools themselves to set extremely restrictive limits on the usage of such technology, there's a solid argument for letting them be free to imagine and then make it happen.

It's not a stretch to say the kids in this video are on the cutting edge. Some of the results he talks about in the video at the bottom are quite impressive.

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