How 'Bill Nye Saves The World' From "Alternative Facts"
Nineties kids everywhere collectively rejoiced when we learned our favorite bow-tied science guy would return to the small screen. I am, of course, referring to Netflix's new talk show Bill Nye Saves the World which premieres on April 21. It'll be more sophisticated than the show you loyally watched as a kid, but totally accessible for those of us who aren't science experts. Nye will tackle a range of topics, including climate change, alternative medicine, video games, and sex — all from a scientific point of view, of course. Although the series was written and shot prior to the election, Bill Nye's Netflix talk show is politically relevant and more necessary than ever. In a roundtable with reporters, Nye says "I don't think it's controversial to say [Trump] contradicts himself quite often. But the people we want to influence are the people around him and we'll see how that goes."
When it comes to "alternative facts," Nye hopes they'll become a thing of the past sooner rather than later. "I think we'll look back at this time in history and say, 'wow!" But he's optimistic about the future. "Millennials may be the most scientifically literate generation ever, and this will have huge ramifications in politics in about 10 years," Nye says. He cites the popularity of the TV show The Big Bang Theory, which focuses on a group of scientists, as an example of our generation's interest in science.
"My own popularity is amazing to me," he adds. (It's hardly amazing to any of us who spent our afternoons watching Bill Nye the Science Guy, but I appreciate his modesty.)
Although Nye didn't set out for the show to be overtly political, a lot of the topics he covers — especially climate change — are more politically relevant than ever. When asked if he has a message for climate change deniers, Nye's answer is a simple one: "Get over it. The problem is there." He points out that cognitive dissonance is a huge part of the issue — people double down on their denial and it creates a backfire effect. "It doesn't seem possible that humankind could change the climate of the entire planet but we have. We still are," Nye says.
Although Nye's political views are no secret, he emphasizes there's an area where liberals and conservatives can find common ground: space exploration. "There are a lot of NASA centers in very conservative states and they have an interest in advancing space science and exploration. That's where we can find common ground," Nye says. "If [Trump's administration] wants an admirable legacy, look for signs of life on Mars or Europa, the moon of Jupiter."
And, because he's not amazing enough, Nye is a self-described feminist who hopes to see more women represented in the STEM fields. "Half the world is women, so let's have half of all engineers and scientists be women," he says. "I was brought up with feminism and I believe in it, and I think it'll be a heck of a thing when women engineers are more present than they are now."
There's never a wrong time for Bill Nye to return to TV, but given our current political climate, his presence is more important than ever.