Bill Nye, on Ice

At the ginormous 2019 Exelon Innovation Expo, where a few thousand Exelon employees gathered to compete — or see the competition — for innovation awards, Bill Nye the Science Guy was the keynote speaker. Here's an excerpt from his funny, serious and inspiring speech:



"Happy Thursday. So I was really excited about this until just a couple minutes ago. Someone came up to me and said, is Bill Nye your real name? And I said, it's William Nye. And he said, why did you change it? No.

Greetings everyone, greetings, greeting.

So what we're going to do, you all, we're going to change the world. All right? Not right away. But certainly by noon.

So we are talking today from the Earth. We had a picture of that. Yeah, there [pointing to a projected slide]. Many of you recognize it. It may look like it's out of focus. But it's not really. That's the atmosphere.

That's the whole thing. The atmosphere is just [not] that thick.

If you showed this picture to my grandfather he wouldn't have believed it. He would have presumed the Earth looked like a classroom globe or something.

Now, when I was in engineering school many years ago, people had started to talk about comparing the atmosphere of the Earth with the atmosphere of Mars and the atmosphere of Venus. And people determined that the Earth's atmosphere was unique.

Well, of course, it is unique. But it's also the reason it's just warm enough for us all to live here.

And people talked about studying the Earth's atmosphere by looking at the ice. And by the ice, I'm talking about Greenland.

So two years ago, I won't say lived the dream. But I went to the ice sheet in the East Greenland Ice Core Research Project.           

And everybody, I just cannot emphasize this enough. It's not a situation where you'll say, well, I'll take my rifle and live off the land. Because there's nothing. I mean, you look around two hundred and fifty miles, or four hundred kilometers, whatever, there's just ice. There's just ice.

You go there in a C130 airplane. You land. Then the airplane leaves and that's it. It's just you and the ice, man.

And so the combination of the National Science Foundation and the University of Copenhagen, they drill down. Down, down, down, and you pick up the ice.

As you fly in, you go over the Russell Glacier near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, pronouncing it as best I can. And, you guys, this part of the story is not rocket surgery. Okay?

That's where the glacier is now [again pointing to a projected slide]. This is where it used to be [covering much more ground].

Because the world's getting warmer and the ice is melting and running into the Atlantic Ocean. There's just less glacier than there used to be. Anybody, I think, can see. Big channel. From rock cut. By big ice thing."