Bill Nye is a long-time environmentalist with a motto: “Leave the world a better place. (Sometimes you gotta pick up somebody else’s trash.)”
After a successful run on PBS with “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” the multi-hyphenate comedian-TV host-science educator-mechanical engineer is now finding out how “Stuff Happens” on Planet Green‘s new half hour show (catch it on Tuesdays at 9PM ET). In it, Nye traces where the things we eat, wear, and use come from, and what impact that has on our entire planet.
If anyone’s equipped to find links to our stuff and make the information fun, it’s this 53-year-old who once had a day job as an engineer and spent nights doing stand-up comedy. “My family is funny,” Nye said. “I mean funny in the sense that we make people laugh, not just funny looking.”
We talked to Nye about his “feud” with neighbor Ed Begley, Jr., why breakfast matters and got him to confess his biggest eco sin.
TDG: One of your first “Stuff Happens” episodes is about breakfast. What’s so special about breakfast and the environment?
Are you kidding? It’s the most important meal of the day. It had the iconic story that North American pigs – from where we get bacon – I presume unwillingly are fed feed made with South American anchovies (and herrings and sardines). Farmers say eating fish helps their animals grow to that wonderfully ample size consumers want. Because of this, we’re accidentally destroying an ecosystem. It’s the story of stories.
We’re seriously depleting the world’s anchovy population and leaving the penguins and South American seabirds with nothing to eat. These birds are dangerously close to starving because the anchovy and sardine populations have been decimated.
What can we do?
Strange as it may seem, you could eat more anchovies. This would raise the price of the fish and make anchovy fish feed more costly and less desirable to pig farmers. Also eat organic bacon from pigs raised on 100% agricultural feed. If you’re looking for the true organic meat products, make sure it’s grass-fed only.
Let’s talk about your green competition with neighbor Ed Begley, Jr. On a show last year, he put up a wind turbine and you said you were doing the same … did you?
No. His didn’t work. There were problems with it. But I’ll jump back on the bandwagon. To have 500 kilowatts running through my house is well worth it.