Heroes

Environmental anguish getting you down? Bill Nye and Arnold Schwarzenegger have some advice.

'Deniers, quit denying — and we can all get to work and change the world.'

Environmental anguish getting you down? Bill Nye and Arnold Schwarzenegger have some advice.
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The Wilderness Society

Bill Nye is a very sad Science Guy.

Our climate is changing, and the planet is in danger. The science that lends Bill Nye his nickname — the thing he's dedicated his life to — is the only thing that can save us.

Unfortunately, there's a small but incredibly vocal minority who refuse to yield to facts — and whose stubborn resistance has already done massive damage to the planet we call home.


What's a bow-tied educational entertainer to do?


Sad Bill Nye is sad. All GIFs via " National Geographic."

Easy: enlist the aid of Dr. Arnold Schwarzenegger, world-renowned psychologist.

Wait what?!

That's the delightful setup for a recent episode of National Geographic's "Explorer."

If you don't have 45 minutes to watch the whole thing, below are the highlights of how Arnold guides the Science Guy through those famous "five stages of grieving" for our man-made planetary disaster. (But don't worry — there's a happy ending, just like the real fifth stage!)

1. Denial

Ignorance is bliss, so Nye travels to Florida on a quest to learn from the most masterful of those who reject mainstream climate science. How are they able to live such happy lives, blind to the painful, glaring reality of the disastrous future on the near horizon?

Nye speaks with Florida state Rep. Mike Hill, who basically sticks his fingers in his ears and says, "LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" when Nye presents him with evidence of global warming. Also, did you know that government employees in the state of Florida aren't even allowed to say the words "climate change?"

2. Anger

In Alberta, Canada, big oil companies are physically forcing themselves onto protected land and drilling for tar sands — which are both environmentally hazardous and economically impractical.

Nye joins the frontlines of the fight alongside the activists and protesters who are screaming for a change. Because, hey, if someone came in and permanently ruined your home and then turned around and tried to charge you for it, you'd be pretty pissed, right?

Spoiler alert: Yup, they're pissed. But a few small grassroots efforts can't stand up to the combined might of Big Oil all by themselves.

3. Bargaining

There has to be a middle ground, right? A truce or a sacrifice we can make to appease the carbon-producing corporations and also save the planet at the same time ... right?

Not so much. As the Science Guy finds, every time we try to find a compromise, carbon emissions still come out on top. Unless we make a unilateral change across the board and bring an abrupt end to fossil fuels, we're only delaying the inevitable.

4. Depression

When we're depressed, we sometimes feel like we're drowning, waves of misery crashing all around us until the pressure is too much to fight and we just stop swimming.

For the people who are already dealing with the effects of the changing climate, that's not a metaphor.

In this section, the Science Guy visits South Pacific islands and American coastal towns to see how the rising water levels and chaotic patterns are ravaging the homes of real people. The truth is ... not so pretty.

5. Acceptance

After a heartbreaking conversation with ecologist Guy McPherson, the Science Guy becomes the Whiskey Guy. With so many barriers in the way of a solution, he has no choice but to turn to his old friend Jack Daniels for solace.

But wait! If we truly accept these three important facts, things will actually look up:

  1. Climate change is real.
  2. It's happening now, and it's getting exponentially worse.
  3. And there's a still chance to make it better.

And that science that Bill Nye has dedicated his life to? That's what's going to help us.

"There's enough energy in most places — wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal — to run the whole world. What we need is to DO IT. We need to get started," the Science Guy said.

That's great news! Let's start listening to it!

You can make a difference right now! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sign this petition to stop risky off-shore oil drilling in Australia — and help shield our planet from catastrophic climate change.

After you're done with that, you can watch the full episode of National Geographic's "Explorer" online — it's well worth* your 45 minutes!

*And not just for Arnold's corny puns.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less