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Unlike the turbulent troposphere, the stratosphere--the atmospheric layer from 10 to 50 km--has long been believed not to play a substantial role in determining weather and climate at Earth's surface. Reporting from a workshop in Whistler, British Columbia, Baldwin et al. discuss recent evidence to the contrary in their Perspective. Observational and modeling evidence increasingly points to a stratosphere that is an active player in the climate and weather of this planet. Better knowledge of the underlying mechanisms may, for example, be helpful in weather prediction and in elucidating the climatic effects of greenhouse gas increases and stratospheric ozone depletion.