The TH Interview: Bill Nye the Science Guy
Image credit: Planet Green
TH: What do you think are some of the biggest problems facing both the environmental movement and science itself in America today?
BN: How about the fact that we have presidential candidates who don’t believe in evolution?! Just look at the guy who won the other night in Michigan [Mitt Romney]… I mean, how can you have someone running for President of the United States of America who doesn’t believe in the overarching theme in all of life science? He likes his antibiotics and he likes his cell phone, but he doesn't believe in evolution?
TH: So which candidate has the best handle on science?
BN: None of them do. But you can’t expect a presidential candidate to know everything. The problem is that if you elect someone who doesn’t believe in evolution then they’re going to go out and hire people who are scientifically illiterate to be a part of their administration, and that’s where you get into trouble. But those who do believe in evolution are likely to hire people who are scientifically literate and who will give them the advice they need to make rational decisions.
TH: Why do you think Americans struggle with basic scientific realities like global warming and evolution?
BN: Books have been written… But I really can’t tell you. The truth is that my friends in Europe just can’t believe (the lack of scientific acceptance) though. And they simply can’t understand how the richest, most powerful country on earth can be led by someone who doesn’t believe in basic science.
And we don’t have a true free market here in America either… If we want to have that we have to let the price of gasoline be what it should be. And that would certainly make all of these other technologies be more attractive to businesses, and make people reconsider the choices they make as well.
TH: If there was one popular myth about the environment that you could personally eliminate, what would it be?
BN: That global warming is just a myth.
TH: And maybe you can give us one great eco-experiment or investigation that you can suggest our readers try at home to better understand environmental issues?
BN: You know, I did some research into what were the most heavily traded commodities in the world. The first, of course, is oil… But the second is coffee, which surprised me. It’s not something you need, like wheat or rice, but something you can choose to buy… So I’d ask you to keep a running record of how much you spend on coffee and bottled water for a week or even a month, and compare them. It’s amazing what you’ll find… And if you can convince people to change some really basic habits you can really change the world… Just think of the enormous impact coffee consumption has on the planet.
Bill Nye is currently working on an original series for Discovery’s upcoming Planet Green television network.