T.V. personality Bill Nye visits K-State, champions sustainability

Hannah Hunsinger | Collegian Renowned scientist and children’s show host Bill Nye speaks about his father’s fascination with sun dials, the Mars rovers and climate change in Bramlage Coliseum last night. His humorous lecture was followed by questions from the audience.Photo credit: Hannah Hunsinger.

Last night, Bramlage Coliseum filled with students and community members alike who turned out to see Bill Nye the Science Guy speak about space, his family, growing up, and sustaining the planet.

Nye began the night by talking about space missions currently taking place, working on exploring Mars and beyond. Throughout his presentation, Nye expressed a fascination with the exploration of space and the universe.

“That’s the reason we came up with science,” Nye said. “Where did we come from and are we alone?”

Nye humorously told the story of his upbringing, beginning with his parents’ history. He said his father shared his passion for science, with a love for rocks and sundials.

“Everything that sticks up should be made a sundial,” Nye said, eliciting a laugh from the college audience.

Students, excited to attend, had reserved tickets far in advance for a show originally planned to be at McCain auditorium. When Nye was injured competing on “Dancing With the Stars,” his presentation had to be rescheduled, and students had to switch out their tickets.

“There were so many things going on during UPC week already that I didn’t mind Bill Nye being pushed back,” Aaron Finster, junior in mass communications, said. “This way we could come back and enjoy an event before finals.”

Those who were able to attend the later date said they felt that it was well worth the wait and their time, as Nye’s message stuck with them.

“I think he emphasized a personal responsibility to global issues,” Michael Rysavy, senior in photography, said. “It’s not just something that everyone is going to take care of as a group.”

Nye focused the second half of his presentation on the imminent problems facing students today, including the likelihood of asteroids striking Earth and climate change.

Nye discussed photos of Mars, showing a surface ravaged by asteroids and meteor scars.

“You have to figure that what happened on Mars happened on Earth,” Nye said. “Studying Mars should change the world.”

Nye noted the danger of an asteroid potentially hitting Earth.

“You would, as a tax payer, voter, and student, run in circles screaming,” Nye said. “There’s no evidence that’s effective.”

Switching topics to climate change and global warming, Nye projected a graph showing a trend known as the Hockey Stick trend, showing a dramatic increase in global temperature in the last 200 years. He discussed what individuals could do to decrease their carbon footprint, to use less energy and to save money.

“With technology, we can pull this off,” Nye said. “And by we, I mean you.”

Nye addressed a global consumption problem, contributing to over-population and a thinning atmosphere.

“People around the world are busy. They’re driving and burning and eating,” Nye said. “Everyone wants to have steak and plastic. If you don’t want to address the problems, will you please just shut up?'”

Nye left the group, whom he addressed as engineers, scientists, businessmen and accountants, lawyers and astronomers, with an uplifting message.

“With your brains, my friends, you can — dare I say it — change the world,” Nye said.

Nye was brought to the K-State campus by UPC as part of their entertainment lineup.