A Conversation with Bill Nye

Senior Brittni McGuire converses with Bill Nye the Science Guy over Zoom on Wednesday, April 29.

Chances are many college students had at least one day in grade school in which their teachers pulled out a TV and turned on an episode of “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” 

The Lied Center for Performing Arts and the University Program Council gave students a chance to learn a few more lessons from the guy himself in “A Conversation with Bill Nye” on Wednesday night.

In the virtual conversation, senior Brittni McGuire asked Nye about his take on climate change, his past experiences in Nebraska and how he began in the entertainment industry.

Nye said even though climate change has been happening since the atmosphere was created, the speed at which the Earth is heating up should alert people. He said if something isn’t done soon, our entire food system will be affected, and he encouraged everyone to vote in their elections if they want to make a change. 

“This has been going on since the beginning of atmosphere on the Earth, at least 3.7 billion years ago,” Nye said. “The problem — our problem — is it’s never gotten this warm this fast.” 

Nye said people in Nebraska should be concerned about climate change, especially because of the state’s agricultural economy. Farmers will be affected by climate change more than any other profession, and Nye said the state can’t rely on the Ogallala Aquifer forever.

McGuire asked Nye what it was like to be there on the first Earth Day, and how the holiday has changed over the years. He talked about how back in the 1970s, the main concern of environmentalism was to fight pollution, encourage more recycling and conserve more. Nye said today’s main concern is climate change, but pollution is still a big issue. He said states like Nebraska with wind and solar energy could help make climate change a lesser evil. 

Nye talked about his experience during the 2017 solar eclipse in Beatrice at the Homestead National Monument. He said that while it wasn’t the first solar eclipse he experienced, it was surely one of the best he’d seen. 

“That park is on a little bit of a rise so if you looked way, way over there, you could see where the edge of the path was,” Nye said. “It was not my first total eclipse but so far, it was the best one. The conditions were just really good.”

McGuire asked Nye how he found his love of science. Nye told the story of how one summer, he became fascinated with bees after his mother had treated a bee sting with ammonia and read an article in the Washington Post that said bees shouldn’t physically be able to fly.  

When asked if Mars could be a safe planet for human life in the future, Nye said whoever wants to colonize should do it, but warned that it will be difficult with the severe lack of water and resources on Mars. 

Nye concluded the event by encouraging people to listen to science and to use the scientific method when researching topics in today’s society. He said young people of today have the ability to change the world. 

“Please vote,” Nye said. “You have to vote, and for those of you who don’t wanna vote, would you just shut up and let the rest of us who want effect change do so?”