[VIDEO] Bill Nye Is Saving the World and Wants You to Join Him

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We had the opportunity a couple weeks ago to attend a two-episode premiere of Netflix’s Bill Nye Saves the World at The Paley Center for Media, where Keisha and I spoke to Nye’s correspondents and the Science Guy himself about the importance the Netflix show now.

The correspondents are kind of like the Planeteers to Nye’s Captain Planet, but instead of saving the world through magic rings they provide critical thought, interviews, and encounters with different people (some more scientifically valid than others), and more.

Derek Muller, creator of Veritasium, told us about one of his favorite experiments, which involves extracting DNA from strawberries—and one of he most challenging stunts, which involves a professional baseball player and a Mars-shaped pinata. If that’s not enough to convince you to watch the show, I’m not sure what is. Muller gave a rousing speech at the March for Science a few days after we spoke to him, and on the topic of science and politics he told us:

“It’s tricky, I really think that science is not a partisan issue. I think we should all get behind the things our experts are saying and I think a lot of politicians are on board with that. There are a few that push back when it goes against their agenda, but by and large I’m hoping that we can get everyone on board. I just want everyone to come forward and say ‘Evidence matters. Research matters. Let’s promote those things because when we do everyone gets better off.”

Comedian Joanna Hausmann, who is also amazing on the show, spoke about how this is really a show for everyone and anyone. “I think science seems like this very esoteric concept that you learn about in school and adults don’t really have a relationship with it,” said Hausmann. “Science is so inculcated into our society and into our politics. It’s so necessary.”

Bill Nye Saves the World makes topics that can often seem too complex or science-y for regular folks accessible, and brings science to social issues that affect all of us. An episode that dives into gender and sexuality dives into identity in a scientific way, dispelling the myths used to defend discrimination.

Bill Nye says his show is all about bringing in the science and fostering critical thinking. “We want to give the viewer something to think about. We want people to take a scientific view of all sorts of issues in society. For example, vaccines, there’s clear science on that. You need to get vaccinated, that’s just it. No matter how well you eat, you could get polio. You don’t want polio. Doesn’t matter what you eat, or how healthy you eat, or how organic, or whatever the heck–if you get infected you will get polio.”

The show dives into all kinds of topics from the news, a purposeful decision to address issues facing society today. Nye: “Then we did a show on video games. Are they good or bad? Or are they just there? So watch the show, turn it up loud, binge it, watch it three or four times, and you can, I hope, have a scientific perspective on that interesting bit of society.”

On combatting anti-intellectualism, Nye talks about the consequences of not investing in science:

“We’ll start with the March for Science. I claim that any intellectual-ism is not sustainable. That nature’s laws will catch up with your ignorance or setting aside of nature’s laws. Nature will not let you get away with this. Any country that doesn’t embrace science, that doesn’t invest in science is going to fall behind economically. It’s going to get out-competed by other countries. And I think in the coming weeks we’ll come to realize that. You can’t ignore science and stay competitive.

Like, what do we explore? We explore our ideas, iPhone, software, Microsoft—these are idea. Yes, we export airplanes. Big heavy airplanes. Big light-weight airplanes, which are full of all sorts of technological innovations which are the result of investment in science. I think people will realize that very soon.”

Of course, we had to ask him about switching up the iconic Bill Nye theme song to something more modern. On working with Tyler the Creator, Nye says, “he was cool, we hung out one morning, we hung out all day with him.” Jealous.

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