There are a lot of things to worry about in this day and age: hate crimes, lack of access to healthcare, terrorism, underemployment, the list goes on. But none of that matters if the planet we live on becomes uninhabitable; if the ice caps melt, Manhattan will turn into the next Atlantis and California’s Central Valley will become too salinized to grow the food that feeds most of the country.
Our president-elect has called climate change “a hoax invented by the Chinese” despite the fact that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is happening, and that it’s likely caused by humans. But there’s a hero on his way to save us; a lab-coated crusader, a vestige of better times, a voice of reason in unreasonable times: Bill Nye. The beloved science guy is coming to Netflix this spring with an aptly titled new series, Bill Nye Saves the World.
“Each episode will tackle a topic from a scientific point of view, dispelling myths, and refuting anti-scientific claims that may be espoused by politicians, religious leaders or titans of industry,” described Netflix in a statement. Topics on the docket include vaccinations, genetically modified foods and climate change. The show has a slew of correspondents who are all experts in their fields—and of course, there will be demonstrations and experiments like the ones that made a generation fall in love with Nye in the first place during his Emmy-award-winning classic 1990s kids’ show, Bill Nye the Science Guy.
The show synopsis is notable in that it reflects the gains of anti-science movements in America, such as the rise of anti-vaxxers. More and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children, exposing the whole population to diseases that were nearly eradicated decades ago. Elsewhere in the medical realm, Americans are being denied some of the most cutting edge medical treatments available because of people who believe that the embryos stem cells come from are more important than the human lives they could save. And under Donald Trump, the financial interests of big corporations will continue to be put ahead of protecting the planet.
The show’s announcement comes at a time when a new group called 314 Action has formed to promote the idea that environmentalists should give up on getting politicians to accept science, and instead should encourage scientists to run for office.
It’s clear that intellectual arguments, scientific evidence and logic have no effect on the willfully ignorant populous. Anything climate change deniers, opponents of stem cell research and anti-vaxxers don’t agree with is immediately dismissed as liberal propaganda, hoaxes or just plain ignored. The strategy of communicating these important ideas not through the opinion pages or sensational news segments, but through a recognizable, approachable, entertaining medium is just brilliant.
With Bill Nye the Science Guy, Nye demystified science for us when we were kids; he transformed it from an intimidating, boring school subject to a fun, accessible topic ripe with opportunities for action and learning. Now, he’s poised to do the same for a bunch of adults who are more intimidated by science than any child. If there’s any chance to get through to these people, Bill Nye may just be it.