Sarah Myhre, Ph.D., studies the way ancient oceans coped with changing climates. But in the past year, the paleoceanographer became a sign-carrying marcher, an unusual move in the typically buttoned-up science world. She has marched for social justice and for science nationally as a leader in the nonprofit 500 Women Scientists group, a key organization participating in the March for Science–Seattle.
This 35-year-old single mother, a research associate in the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington, shifted into overdrive after hearing the well-known recording of President Donald Trump saying he groped women. His denial of climate change, combined with his attitude toward women, galvanized her to speak out. She’s spent hundreds of hours organizing, marching, advocating and testifying on climate change as well as women’s rights. She’s written for The Stranger and The Guardian on why climate advocacy is important. She’s been profiled by the Huffington Post and Climate Central. Trolls and social-media critics have called her names. Older colleagues have warned her that this “public” face may mean career suicide. But she persists.
What she calls being “wholehearted” and speaking the truth seems to her, possibly, the healthiest of careers. Myhre, a fifth-generation Washingtonian who grew up skiing and guiding white-water rafting trips, says that when so many deny that climate change is real, talking about it “is one of the most difficult things we can do as scientists. My work is to close the gap between science and society.”
Read about the rest of 2017's Most Influential Seattleites here.