Recognized all over, if for nothing else than his signature bowtie, Bill Nye, a man most of Generation Y will remember for his show The Science Guy, is evolving his role to defending science in the media. Nye has appeared multiple times on Fox News and is making his rounds giving speeches at commencement ceremonies, championing controversial topics like climate change and evolution. Nye says he is quite proud of the success of his show, and also says that his role now is speak on platforms that would not normally allow people with his line of thinking, such as certain cable news networks.
Nye’s message is simple: we need scientifically literate people and voters to solve our biggest challenges. Most likely Nye’s passionate defense is what makes him so compelling, and while still fairly calm, the man comes off as excitable when compared to more stoic environmental champions like Neil Degrasse Tyson or Bill McKibben (although both of them have had their moments). Being a television personality, Nye has become an increasing figure in popular Internet memes, including a popular one circulated from a satirical story written by The Daily Currant, in which Nye is quoted saying incendiary insults about the Republican Party.
This cult of personality around Bill Nye may be the fuel the climate debate really needs in order to be heard above powerful pundits and even senators who are still insisting that climate change is not real or at least not man made. So far, deniers have a wider influence, as climate change is out of most of the public’s mind as a priority. As most fans of his show are college age or just starting their careers, his celebrity influence may help change that. To this day, he stands true to the original stated mission of his early 1990’s television show: to change the world.