Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill! Bill Nye the Science Guy!

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for National Park Service.

Bill Nye is basically a living touchstone for every millennial science kid (unless you grew up watching Beakman's World, which had fewer music videos and more giant rat costumes).


On Aug. 22, 2016, New Yorkers may have been able to catch Nye at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for National Park Service.

Nye was there for the National Park Foundation's #FindYourPark event, celebrating the National Park Service's centennial on Aug. 25.

While he was there, Nye extolled the virtues of the national parks while also calling out one of their biggest threats: climate change.

Though the days of on-air experiments and catchy theme songs are now nearly two decades past, Nye has never stopped speaking out about science and reason. And one of the key features of that mission is to keep people aware of how our planet is changing.

"I just got back from Glacier National Park, and there are only a few glaciers left. And the official word is by 2030, they'll all be gone," Nye told The Verge in an interview. "But the park rangers I spoke with — a dozen park rangers over the course of a few days — no, no, five, six, seven years, certainly by 2025, all the glaciers will be gone."

Nye has been on a hot streak lately in his fight against climate change. Here's what he's been up to:

Nye went on CNN to call out the link between climate change and current natural disasters.

After appearing at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Nye stopped by CNN to call out the link between climate change and flooding in Louisiana.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

"For us on my side of this, this is a result of climate change," Nye told CNN about the recent flooding in Louisiana. "It's only going to get worse."

Though we can't say whether any specific weather phenomenon would or would not have happened without man-made climate changes, it's true that experts are predicting more frequent and more severe floods, droughts, storms, and heat waves as the atmosphere changes.

He ended the interview with a little jab at CNN, whose anchors haven't always supported the science.

Back in July, Nye teamed up with Vocativ to debunk climate myths.

Image via Vocativ/YouTube.

Vocativ dredged up some of the most common arguments against climate change science and posed them to Nye in an entertaining — if a little heavily produced — video. In it he tackles questions about volcanoes, sun cycles, and even pig farts!

In April, Nye put his money where his mouth is while confronting those who reject climate science.

After a meteorologist and climate-change doubter challenged Nye in a 2015 op-ed, Nye offered to bet a total of $20,000 that 2016 would be one of the hottest years ever and that 2010-2020 would be one of the hottest decades.

Looks like he's being proven right, by the way. 2016 is on pace to be the hottest year in recorded history.

It's not all doom and gloom, though. Nye knows of a simple thing we can all do to help fight climate change: vote.

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for National Park Service.

"Vote, that's my message. You have to vote. Take your responsibility to vote seriously," Nye told The Verge in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

While Nye declined to say who he thought people should vote for, he encouraged people to take the environment into account while voting this year.

Nye was the voice of science in my childhood, and he's still a tremendous voice of reason today.

His plea for us to vote really matters — this year, our elections have some of the most clearly divided candidates on climate change and science in history.

So if things like heading off greater natural disasters and preserving our natural parks matter to you, listen to Bill Nye: This is the year to do something about it.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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