Talking climate change with Bill Nye

    Bill Nye and Maiken Scott speaking at the Franklin Institute. (Daniel Burke Photography)

    Bill Nye and Maiken Scott speaking at the Franklin Institute. (Daniel Burke Photography)

    Bow-tied and boisterous, Bill Nye recently discussed his new book in a live interview with Pulse host, Maiken Scott, at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

    The book, “Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World,” illustrates how individuals can make an impact on climate change.

    First, he stresses that people should change how they perceive and treat the planet – not to be a renter, but a homeowner. He says we need to be responsible for the current state of the environment and to cultivate a personal relationship with the planet. 

    “The Earth is going to be here no matter what we do. I want to save the Earth for ME!” Nye exclaims.

    After accepting the fact that the human species’ survival depends on the state of the planet, Nye says an individual can do a lot to help. They can do the little things, like recycle and carpool. But he wants people to think bigger. 

    “Think HUGE,” he says. “The single most important thing that we all can do about climate change right now is to talk about it.” 

    He ardently believes that if people took that same level of intensity that they use to talk about social issues to discuss climate change, then the human race would be that much closer to a solution.

    A champion advocate, he maintains that it’s in no one’s best interest to deny the climate’s transformation. “They’re really sabotaging their own genetic future,” says Nye. 

    Though Nye has, in the past, altered his opinion on important issues such as GMOs, he never considered shifting his stance on climate change. Since his introduction to Carl Sagan and James Pollock’s initial publications about assessing climate at Cornell University, Nye has been a firm believer of climate change. Since the tested models used today have not deviated from the parameters set in 1977, Nye will not revise his convictions any time soon.

    The evidence that keeps Nye convinced has encouraged the business world to come up with alternative energy solutions. Sort of.

    Nye recounts a recent visit to east Texas where he saw rows of oil refineries as far as his eye could see. He then learned that 10 percent of Texas’ electricity came from the wind. Turbines built by power companies with the sole purpose of making money because “The energy is free!”

    Bill Nye does not hide his enthusiasm for using wind in the energy market. 

    “Fossil fuels is about 1.7 cents a kilowatt-hour and wind follows closely at 2.1 cents a kilowatt-hour,” he explains.”If we were to charge a fee for the production of carbon dioxide, wind would come out way ahead!”

    He happily supports any other alternative means of harnessing energy.

    “This is a journey, but we can get started on it… this is a solvable problem, if we wanted to do it and I think we do,” Nye states. 

    In order to tackle these problems and create innovative solutions, he says it requires funding and public support. He adds that future generations must be scientifically literate so that they can confidently vote on important issues. This is a task that science educators grapple with on a daily basis.

    Nye advises science teachers on how to make their lessons engaging. He insists that teachers must be passionate. “If you’re excited about it then your students are going to be excited about it,” says Nye.He also suggests that disciplined vocabulary is absolutely crucial in teaching a topic. If the material is not conveyed clearly and well explained, then the lesson will be lost.

    “If we go into it like we’re going to win this thing, then we will,” Bill declares. “So let’s get together and, dare I say it, change the world!”

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