By: Patrick L. Smith
Bill Nye is not impressed with global warming.
The well-known personality, whose livelihood has stemmed from his TV show and his work in the scientific community, joined a growing number of scientists who do not believe that global warming is a myth
Speaking to 4,400 people at the Ottawa Convention Centre on March 14, Nye urged listeners to “find a way to take the energy from wind and solar” and store it for future use.
The increase of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere was particularly troubling to Nye. According to statistics he posted in his presentation slides, the amount of CO2 in the air is rising at an alarming rate.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to solve this problem just by doing things more efficiently,” he said.
Although his educational background is in engineering, Nye’s reputation for making science interesting and entertaining for children has made him one of the most notable names in the scientific community.
For many university and college students, some of the best memories of elementary school came from watching Bill Nye the Science Guy.
On March 14, it was apparent that his show had made a lasting impact on the students of today.
Over 4,400 people showed up at the Ottawa Convention Centre to hear Nye deliver an impassioned speech on science and global warming. The lineup to get access to the building stretched as far as the eye could see, with people at the front of the line arriving at 2 p.m. even though doors didn’t open until 5 p.m.
“This was the kindest organized mob I’ve ever seen,” said Jayme Lewthwaite, president of the University of Ottawa Science Students’ Association. The SSA organized the event.
On his show, Nye was known for having the knack of teaching science to even small children in an easy-to-understand format.
The engineer’s show featured parodies of popular songs with lyrics altered to explain scientific phenomena, as well as “try it at home” segments, in which he encouraged viewers to attempt the experiment he was demonstrating.
The talk took on a more humourous tone, while still maintaining its educational bent and its relevance to current events.
Nye got on stage at 7:30 p.m., and immediately began cracking jokes.
“This is Mars,” he said, pointing to his presentation slide. “Well, no, it’s not. It’s a picture of Mars. I don’t think Mars would fit in this room.”
His humour-laden talk spanned numerous topics, jumping from the simplicity of sundials to the sky on Mars and touching briefly on asteroids.
He segued from the meteorite which hit in Chelyabinsk, Russia on Feb. 15, to the one that made dinosaurs extinct, before finally touching on the fact that humanity isn’t safe from the same type of extinction happening again.
“This sort of thing could happen to us at any time,” he said. “We’re the first generation of humans who can do anything about it.”
The question-and-answer portion addressed education, among other topics, but Nye saw the problem of science and math education as stemming from elementary schools, not universities.
“You get this lifelong passion for science before 10 years old,” he said. “It’s important to emphasize elementary education whenever we can.”
In the end, Nye’s message to the audience was clear.
“You can, dare I say it, change the world,” he repeated throughout the talk.
He received positive reviews afterwards, with spectators lauding Nye’s sharp sense of humour.
“It was a very good mix of science and jokes,” said Kayla Engvall, a civil engineering student at the University of Ottawa. “It was worth the wait.”