Bill Nye “The Science Guy” wants you to “Find Your Park.”
The engineer and television personality is known for his outspoken views on climate change, space exploration and evolution, but the environmental champion is now turning his attention to our nation’s parks as a National Parks Service centennial ambassador.
New Yorkers can join Nye and DJ Questlove on Monday in Brooklyn Bridge Park for a special celebration and lots of dancing that will connect people to each other, their city and, Nye hopes, their green spaces.
Why did you decide to get involved with the “Find Your Park” event?
I’m an ambassador for the National Parks for the 100th anniversary. This is an opportunity to promote the anniversary and we encourage everybody to “find your park.” There are a dozen [national] parks in New York City, over 400 parks in the United States. So, find your park! Go out there! Party on!
How will New Yorkers be able to control the colors on the spire of One World Trade Center?
With electricity. (laughs)
It’ll be a game. There’s a game the people will play there at the park that will be connected to the lighting of the [One World Trade Center].
Have you found your park?
This summer for the first time I went to Glacier National Park which was spectacular. The official line is the glaciers will be gone by 2030, but I’ll tell you on the record, that it’s my opinion—the rangers told me — they don’t think the glaciers will be in five or six years. By 2025, the glaciers will be gone.
You were just in an ice drilling camp in Greenland and you posted online that “evidence of climate change is overwhelming.” What did you see?
They drill into the ice, straight down over two miles and bring up cylinders of solid ice that contain bubbles of the ancient atmosphere and water of ancient snow. Ancient snow has different ratios of neutrons from which scientists can infer the temperature of the ocean and the temperature of the cloud from which the snowflakes fell and it directly captures the ancient atmosphere. They can see the amount of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases that are trapped in there and everybody’s very concerned about climate change who studies these. The thing that we’re really concerned about now is “abrupt climate change,” where there’s clear evidence —irrefutable evidence— that the Earth’s climate has changed really fast a few times in the past. Having humans pump all this carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is just making it go faster.
What would you like to see the next U.S. president do?
The Solutions Project, [civil engineers] have done a study showing that you can run the United States renewably right now—there is enough wind and solar right now—if you just decided to do it… So we hope the next president will enable investment in renewable energy, move to electrifying ground transportation, providing clean water to everyone in the world [and] reliable access to the internet to everyone in the world with renewable electricity.
I, as an engineer who grew up in the United States, I’m a U.S. citizen from birth. I’m a patriot. I want the U.S. to lead the world in these things rather than sitting back trying to fight climate change deniers and a president with a whole political system backing him to continue to burn fossil fuels for electricity. We want to get away from that as soon as possible.
If you visit your national parks, you will have a sense of how important it is. I’m not kidding.
Any final thoughts?
Well, this is the 100th anniversary of the national parks and we really want to raise awareness of them. When you go to vote, please take the environment into account… Go find a national park this year, this week, and realize the legacy our ancestors have left us—these beautiful spaces—and how important they are to preserve.
The National Park Service Centennial,Monday, Aug. 22, 1 p.m. – 10 p.m.,Brooklyn Bridge Park.The event is free. Nye’s presentation and interactive event starts at 7:45 p.m.