Episode 14 – Bill Nye Talks About Energy and More

Bill Nye

Bill Nye


For our contribution to Earth Day, we had the opportunity to chat with Bill Nye about his new show on the new Planet Green channel called Stuff Happens.

Preview from the Show:

I’m doing this other thing called “Stuff Happens? for the Discovery Channel. It’s strictly for a new channel Discovery is re-purposing – they’re calling it “Planet Green”. So all the programming is green, or about environmental issues and stuff. And so this show is about consumer choices that you can make to live a more environmentally responsible life.

I am a serious hobbyist. I have four kilowatts of solar panels and I have a solar water heating system that I, if you will, designed – along with a guy who’s worked in solar in southern California for many, many years…I hired him, and two very good plumbers, and these guys who were good with gas mains, and we re-rigged the whole house. So now I have solar hot water that pre-heats the water before it runs through two tankless hot water heaters. So my gas bill in the summer is less than $10.

There’s an old supply chain from the South American Western Coast to North American farmers. And what is supplied is fish feed made from anchovies. So, American bacon pigs are fed fish from South American oceans. And so many fish are fished so aggressively that penguins are going out of business. The penguin ecosystem has been devastated, and penguin populations have been decimated by this practice. So we encourage you – the listener, the viewer – to buy…organic, grain-fed bacon. That’s what we want you to do to reduce the market for this anchovy feed. And it’s just something that humans are kind of doing by accident, but on such an enormous scale that’s it’s screwing up an entire ecosystem in the south western Pacific.

The baby steps are important. The hardest thing for everyone to understand about the environment is that every single thing you do affects everybody in the whole world. And the reason, nominally, is that we only have one atmosphere. We can only breath from one source of air – we all share the air. So this is a fundamental idea that’s hard to get; it just doesn’t seem possible. I throw out this magazine and instead of recycling it, yeah – you’re lowering the quality of life of everyone on earth.

So you go to the store and you buy one [compact fluorescent light bulb]. Ok, but if you replace every lamp in your house, or every lamp in the main rooms… Replace every one of those lamps, and you will see your power bill go down… Now there are some whining, unbelievable-freakin’ whiners out there who tell you that we can’t change to compact fluorescent because of the mercury – “there’s no way to get rid of the mercury that’s in those lights and it’s gonna kill everybody.” So let’s keep in mind that it was the year 1951 when American industry went to buying more fluorescent lamps than incandescent lamps. That is to say, if you work at any sort of factory anywhere, they have fluorescent lights – ‘cuz it’s so much cheaper. And so those lights are required by law to be recycled and the mercury recovered. And there are services that recover the lights and recover the mercury. So we just gotta do the same thing for domestic consumers – for people that buy ‘em for their houses. For cryin’ out loud – this is not, if I may, rocket surgery. This is actually a little more complicated that: trying to motivate everyone to do the right thing with regard to their old lamps. And of course it can be done; it’s a metal. Who doesn’t want to recover a metal? It’s valuable, it’s shiny, you can see it – of course you can do it.

Politically, [a scientific debate] is an unsophisticated idea. None of the three candidates remaining would ever consent to a science debate. None of them are scientists. None of them would admit to being experts in any way about anything about science. So of course they’re going to say no; they have to say no. This pursuit of science debate is an exercise in futility. Instead, we need to rephrase it – in my opinion. My best idea so far, is to rename it something else – the “nondependence on foreign oil” debate, the “health” debate, the “energy” debate, the “competitiveness” debate – that’s pretty good… But naming this thing the “science” debate sabotages it from the get-go. And of course I support the idea, but the best correction I can think of it to rename it. The “competitiveness” debate – yes.


Direct download: nstalol14.mp3