The best way to save the planet isn’t necessarily to recycle – it’s to step into the voting booth.
That’s according to renowned science educator Bill Nye, the broadcaster’s “The Science Guy,” who spoke at Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colorado, last week. “For sure, recycle bottles, don’t throw away plastic [and] compost your compostables… Start there,” said Nye.[But] If you want to do one thing about climate change: Vote. “
“And, if you’re a kid and you can’t vote yet, make sure your parents do,” added Nye, 66. “Handle them.”
Nye said just a few hours after US Supreme Court issues landmark new ruling that limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants. President Biden called ruling, which is expected to make it more difficult for the US to cut carbon emissions, a “devastating decision.”
Nye called the mostly conservative Supreme Court “a controversial group,” and described the ruling as an act of “human negligence.” He noted that the ruling places a greater burden on the US Congress and state legislatures to pass stronger legislation aimed at protecting the environment – however, in some cases, enforce those laws can be complicated.
“What we have to do is pass better laws,” Nye said. “The Supreme Court does what the law says, so we just need to pass legislation that’s more direct, more specific, in everyone’s best interest.”
Nye points to the rules to be attached fees or taxes on carbon emissions as an example of legislation that can accelerate climate change, because affecting the wallets of both individuals and corporations can help curb the kind of behavior that leads to the exorbitant use of carbon.
“Take into account the environment [when voting]”, he say.” Don’t just vote for, with respect, stupid stuff. Vote for better legislation to control climate change. “
Nye warns the consequences of inaction can be severe – from stronger storm system other damaging natural disasters. It’s also the subject of his upcoming streaming video series, “The End Is Nye,” which premieres on Peacock next month. It will address the hypothetical breakdown of various natural disasters, and explore potential mitigation or preparedness options.
In Aspen, Nye says the best solution to increasingly powerful storms is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
“What you’re going to do is reduce greenhouse gas emissions, so the world doesn’t warm up as fast,” he said. “The problem is that the ocean is warming and then all the energy stored in the ocean leads to [increased convection] and these great hurricanes. “
Nye also quoted research shows that offshore wind turbines can actually slow down hurricanes – similar to a speeding storm, although more financially expensive. “You take energy from the wind and put it into electricity. It would be great, but it would be a huge investment… It’s a compelling idea,” he said.
And just in case you think it’s not your responsibility to tackle climate change, Nye notes that everyday humans have often helped create this problem: With the global population on the rise towards 8 billion peopleup from just 3 billion when Nye was a kid in the 1960s, the science educator said, “we’re having a huge impact on the world.”
“That’s the big message,” Nye said. “Humans are now in charge of the whole thing. So we have to account for the entire planet all the time.”
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