Here's how Bill Nye thinks scientists can thrive in Donald Trump's America
There’s a lot of discontent coming from communities in Donald Trump’s America, and among them are scientists.
The Trump administration is sceptical, at best, about climate change, and has already set about reversing a lot of the work Barack Obama did while president to combat the threat.
Scientists and “anyone who values empirical science” will march on Washington on Earth Day, April 22, but one of America’s most famous scientists, Bill Nye, thinks he knows how to win the Trump administration round – by appealing to his competitive side.
“We want to find common ground, and I think a place to start is space exploration,” Nye said in a live Facebook Q&A on climate change with Senator Bernie Sanders.
“The United States has led the world in space exploration. Other countries are very interested in catching up. This year China will launch more rockets than the United States. They will be the world leader in what we call the cadence, how often a rocket is launched.
“But here’s what I submit to you: if we were to discover evidence of life on another world, it would change the course of human history. And I’m not joking you.
“Many people who are on energy committees are on space committees, is that accurate? So if we got people excited about making discoveries in space by applying our intellect and treasure to the exploration of space, which is 0.4% of the federal budget, we could make extraordinary strides that would once again show people that scientists are trying to learn about nature and the universe.”
That’s how Nye thinks President Trump, and others that think like him, can be won back around to the scientists’ sides – by increasing the space exploration budget and winning plaudits for their discoveries, providing a nice ego stroke for the administration at the same time.
And the veteran TV presenter and engineer even thinks there’s a way to make Trump come around on renewable energy too.
“It is reasonable to me that if we show an economic benefit to turning things around, we can turn things around,” he said.
The 61-year-old pointed to the Solutions Project, which he said has shown how quickly and effectively America could move on to using 100% renewable energy, as an example of what’s possible.
Scientists have a right to worry about their futures in a place where facts no longer appear to hold the same weight as they once did – but a number of potentially harmful acts have also taken place since President Trump’s inauguration.
The Trump administration removed any information regarding climate change from the White House website early into Trump’s presidency, signed an executive order overturning Obama-era legislation aimed at protecting waterways from coal mining waste, and signed an order to start construction of two controversial oil pipelines on his second day in office.
It hasn’t been a bright start for those worried about climate change, and Nye described the consequences of Trump’s presidency as “potentially catastrophic”.
But if common ground is what scientists are looking for, in order to hold some sway with the president, space exploration doesn’t seem like a terrible place to start.