Kayla Cotterman is an MS student at Michigan State University studying the impacts of climate change on crop production and water availability in the Central High Plains region of the United States.
YECA would like to congratulate Kayla Cotterman as the March winner of the Faithful Neighbor Award for Climate Stewardship.
Each month YECA is recognizing a young Christian in this country who is striving to live out what Jesus said was most important: loving God fully and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Climate change is already impacting our neighbors and God’s creation here in the United States and around the world, and we believe God is calling us to faithful action and witness in the midst of the current climate crisis.
Kayla Cotterman is an MS student at Michigan State University studying the impacts of climate change on crop production and water availability in the Central High Plains region of the United States. She has also worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at the National Water Center constructing flood forecast models to improve flood mitigation strategies based on changing stream flows. Kayla was raised in a small farming community, and her attention to climate change and creation care stems directly from this rural upbringing. She says, “Growing up in a small town, I was taught not to waste resources. We have only been given one earth. We need to do the best we can to protect it, and I try to demonstrate this mentality through my profession. Whether its food production, water supply, or risk mitigation, I have always had an interest in making sure that our society is educated about the impacts of climate change in order to adapt and improve our future.”
However, not everyone Kayla communicates with is a firm believer in climate change, making her particularly passionate about finding a common ground between these two groups. She explains, “Whether you believe in climate change or not, it is still important to be a good steward of the resources we have been given. I want to educate people about the simple actions they can take to protect our resources, and these steps have direct implications toward our climate.” Kayla has worked primarily with agricultural communities and has found a special interest in Genesis 1:28 and John 1:3. Pulling from these two verses, she says, “God has given us everything that we have, meaning we would be nothing without Him. It is our responsibility to keep and manage the earth in a way that honors Him and reflects this provision.”
Kayla is planning to graduate this semester and is excited to carry her passion for resource stewardship and creation care into her next position.
If you would like to nominate someone you know for the YECA Faithful Neighbor Award for Climate Stewardship, visit our nomination page here.