Bill Nye predicts major shift in climate change debate

Bill Nye Challenges Climate Change Denier With $20,000 Bet
Bill Nye Challenges Climate Change Denier With $20,000 Bet

As Earth Day nears its Golden anniversary, with 2016 marking the annual event's 46th year in existence, renowned scientist Bill Nye the Science Guy remembers being at the inaugural demonstration in Washington D.C.; and remembers a slightly different message.

Nye grew up in Washington D.C., and recalls taking green friendly transportation then as a youth to the first Earth Day event at The National Mall. "I rode my white bicycle down to the National mall and walked it to a flagpole, which you could do back then," he continued.

SEE ALSO: Bill Nye warns that a stunning natural wonder is turning into a 'Muddy Hillside'

The top focus of Earth Day back in 1970 was not climate change, but the proliferation of pollution which was causing mass devastation. "Rivers were so polluted, the Kyoga river caught on fire, people in Pennsylvania died in their sleep breathing bad air," Nye remembered. "The idea of climate change really didn't emerge until ten or thirteen years later."

Click through NASA images from space that show the Earth changing:

About the time they have to select a (vice presidential) candidate, one of them will say, "Well, I thought about it, and it might be a real issue."

"Earth day was started on account of pollution, but now it has taking on an even bigger and much more important role in climate change," said Nye.

The issue of climate change has already proved to be a contentious topic in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. And as November nears, the debate over climate change has emerged as a one of the defining and most polarizing issues of the election. Both sides of the isle have already selected their respective corners on the issue. "Everybody on the conservative side is a climate change denier," said Nye, weighing in on the current political landscape.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump has stated, "I am not a believer in climate change," calling it a "hoax." While both Democratic candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, have made a point to express not only their belief in climate change, but also their plans for combating its impact.

Nye said he would not be taken aback if Trump, or whomever the GOP presidential nominee is come November, begins to backpedal on their denial of climate change as the general election draws closer.

National parks and Earth Day go hand and hand; they raise awareness of our place on this planet.

"About the time they have to select a (vice presidential) candidate, one of them will say, "Well, I thought about it, and it might be a real issue," Nye explained. And for him the reasoning behind such a pivot is rather obvious: "millennials."

"There aren't quite enough votes without people in the 20s and 30s."

It's true, the younger you are the more likely you are to be believe in climate change. According to the Pew Research Center, 60% of people between the ages of 18-29 believe in man made climate change, while only 48% of 50-64 year-olds do.

Ultimately the significance of Earth Day may be even bigger than the 2016 election, for Nye the day is the perfect time to reflect on humanity's place in the universe. "National Parks and Earth Day go hand and hand; they raise awareness of our place on this planet," said Nye.

Find Your Park - National park service happy 100th:

BY: WILLIAM STEAKIN

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