Everyone’s favorite scientist (who is back with a new show on Netflix, Bill Nye Saves the World, premiering this weekend) is participating in Saturday’s March for Science in hopes of sending a message to lawmakers. And his message to the president, in particular, about the roll back of the Obama administration’s climate change policies, is pretty clear.
“If the president were listening, I’d tell him ‘you got that wrong,’” he told PEOPLE. “You don’t want to roll back those climate policies, for the main reason that climate change really is happening, because of humans, no matter what your colleagues and longtime associates in the fossil fuel industry may insist.”
Nye’s original show, Bill Nye the Science Guy, ran from 1993 to 1998, but lived on in science classrooms for years after it wrapped. Now, at a time in American history where science is being questioned in the political arena, the CEO of the Planetary Society committed to making sure science stays political, but not partisan.
Serving as the honorary co-chair for the April 22 March for Science (there are 393 marches happening worldwide), Nye hopes that mass demonstrations will show lawmakers around the world how much people care about science and don’t want to see it sacrificed to partisan politics or special interests or ignorance.
Science, he says, is inevitably political. Scientific projects are often funded through the government, which make it a part of the political discussion. But Nye regrets the recent trend of scientific fact being called into question.
“Science has always been political, but as a citizen, a voter, a taxpayer, you don’t want it to be partisan,” Nye says. “You don’t want objective truths to be modified, or ignored, or disenfranchised for partisan reasons.”
“Deciding how you’re going to spend your time, energy and your money, it’s negotiated through the process of politics. Right now, there is a tendency or a trend for objective science truth to be ignored.”
Nye insists that you “pretend that things are happening aren’t happening,” like climate change, and says that the fossil fuel industry is largely to blame for this mindset.
“Our lawmakers, especially through the influence of the fossil fuel industry, that a strong belief is as valid a reason to do something or not do something, as objective truths discovered through the process of science,” he says. “That’s not how it works. You can’t ignore facts discovered through science.”
Instead of falling back on fossil fuels, Nye says the United States needs to look to the future, and invest in renewable energy and climate-friendly policies that will build up American jobs, rather than trying to revert to the past.
The danger, Nye says, is that if the U.S. doesn’t, other countries will — leaving America behind. So his other message to President Trump? “This could backfire on you.”
“Other countries realized the real threat and concern of climate change, and the U.S. will be disenfranchised by not going along with the scientific discoveries, and the political decisions being made based on this in other countries.”
Nye knows it won’t be easy with this administration. “It’s not magic, it’s science!” But, he adds: “Let’s get off fossil fuels and create new jobs, new industries. Let’s get to work, Mr. President.”