Bill Nye has always embodied the reserved high school science teacher persona in his two decades of public science advocacy, but on John Oliver's Last Week Tonight program this week, he got very real about the accelerating climate change crisis.
The Planet's on F---ing Fire
For most Millennials, Bill Nye doesn't seem like the kind of science educator who would ever get mad at you, he'd just be very dissappointed, the kind of dissappointment that genuinely hurts. On John Oliver's Last Week Tonight program this week, Bill Nye didn't hold back.
On the program, Oliver ran a segment about climate change in the same week that researchers in Hawaii announced that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is now higher than at any other time when human beings walked the Earth.
Oliver singled out US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-NY) proposed Green New Deal package of environmental regulations and green jobs programs for moving the conversation forward. "To its eternal credit, the Green New Deal has succeeded in getting people talking, but that won't mean anything unless that talk now turns to action," he said.
He followed up by adding, "But you don't have to just take that from me. Instead, I'm happy to say Bill Nye has actually agreed to drive the urgency home at this point by actually doing one of his enjoyable, lighthearted demonstrations."
The program cut to Nye with a similar science set-up that he popularized on his science television programs, but that's when things took an unexpected turn. "By the end of this century, if temperatures keep rising, the average temperature on earth could go up another 4 to 8 degrees," said Nye. "What I'm saying is, the planet's on f---ing fire." He then set fire to a globe with a blow torch.
In order to drive the point home, as well as address criticism of the Green New Deal as being too costly, Nye said: "There are a lot of things we could do to put it out. Are any of them free? No, of course not! Nothing's free, you idiots. Grow the f--- up! You're adults now. I didn't mind explaining photosynthesis to you when you were 12," Nye concluded, "but you're adults now. This is an actual crisis, got it?"