Last Updated on August 14, 2020
A Natural Educator
I’m a fan of Neil DeGrasse Tyson! An astrophysicist and the contemporary face of scientific narration, Tyson is a stellar storyteller.💫 I really enjoyed him as the host of both NOVA, and the recent revamp of Carl Sagan’s inspirational TV series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. Cosmos is a moving and powerful description of the origins of our universe. The series depicts humanity’s scientific progress, exploring how we came to know more about the universe, the world, and ourselves.
The updated version is called Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. It’s an educational treasure, written and produced (in part) by Ann Druyan, Sagan’s equally brilliant wife. Dr. Tyson was an admirer of Sagan’s (who he once met and was influenced by), and a natural fit to keep the story going (see Bill Moyers interview). It was released by National Geographic, but I was able to watch it on Netflix (depending on your country’s access).
Keeping It Real
I’ve appreciated Dr. Tyson for some time now. I first saw him pop up in a few NOVA ScienceNow episodes, but he’s since been able to successfully expand his reach, doing guest appearances & interviews on a number of talk shows.
I liked how he seemed genuinely motivated to get people excited about science. It was after an interview on The Colbert Report, that I decided it was time to read his books. I started with Death By Black Hole and Astrophysics for People in A Hurry. I was not disappointed!
Despite his advanced degrees, Dr. Tyson keeps it relatively simple. He shares his enthusiasm and his insights of the universe as he takes you on his various scientific journeys. You can really sense his passion for learning, and his strong desire to help share the scientific discoveries.
Scientific Help Through the Hard Times
His skills are particularly relevant in this time of encroaching climate change. The planet is warming due to human activities, and elected officials are failing to the respond to the crisis. Just last week, we learned that carbon dioxide emissions are once again on the rise. We know how devastating GHG are for climate change, and yet they continue to increase, despite the global commitments to reduce them.
Indeed, the US National Climate Assessment report was released over the American Thanksgiving Holiday, and the evidence is pretty frightening. Climate change will wreak ever more death and destruction as the climate continues to destabilize.
The official response from the US President, “I don’t believe it.” (PBS Newshour). However, as Dr. Tyson points out again and again, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” The world order clearly has to move past those who deny the reality, and push on towards a sustainable agenda that will better protect human civilization.
On The Same Page
We really need to acknowledge the present environmental reality for what it is. That means listening to the actual scientific community, rather than the media debates and oil-funded skeptics. Just this morning, I read of climate scientist, Dr. Katherine Hayhoe, who’s CNN interview was pulled last minute. Turns out, the interview wasn’t aired to as to give a (paid pundit) Republican climate-denier, and non-scientist, more air time.
It can be pretty infuriating! The message of climate change is not being shared as the emergency it is, and we all have to suffer from the consequences. Click here to watch the unaired interview.
The Scientific Community is Being Largely Ignored
Dr. Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and a recognized expert in climate science. She was going present a TED Talk, but instead opted for the interview with Anderson Cooper to help disseminate the message to a wider audience. Frustratingly, it was dropped as a result of gross misappropriation and mistaken priorities.
Unfortunately, this happens with painful regularity. Scientists, when they are invited to cable news, are forced to debate with commentators, lobbyists, and deniers. In supposedly attempting to provide a balanced report, news media (if they even talk about climate change) have for too long presented it as having subjective views. Furthermore, these views happen follow political fault lines, with plenty of invoked left-right tribalism.
Listening to the Science
It’s time to evolve past this. Science has proven itself, time and again (see Mr. Gervais remind us above). That’s how it works. Well now, the science is telling us that the earth is getting warmer, and that it’s our fault.
We need to dramatically cut down on our GHG emissions, or things are going to get real bad. It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Thankfully, scientific research has also provided us with solutions & alternatives. We really need to demonstrate that we are wise enough to listen.