Science Makes its Prime Time Debut
On a recent Sunday, Science made its prime time debut on FOX with the reboot of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey narrated by one the best science communicators of our time, astrophysicist and occasional Colbert Report contributor Neil deGrasse Tyson. The original Cosmos, narrated by Carl Sagan, was one of the most watched series in the history of American public television and inspired a generation of young scientists, educators and anyone interested in understanding our world. While, I was not alive when the original series broadcast in 1980, I did grow up watching the numerous successors in science-themed television and through those programs and other factors, (including growing up in the Sierra Nevada) was inspired to pursue a career where I could make a positive impact on our world.
I attribute my love of nature and desire to understand the universe we live in to some of those programs that I watched as kid. From NOVA episodes on the Amazon rain forest to Bill Nye the Science Guy and his experiments with helium, electricity or magnets, I was inspired to learn more about how our world works and appreciate its natural wonders. I believe a series of this scale and promotion has the opportunity to captivate, inspire and educate while serving as a gateway to a lasting love and appreciation of our natural world.
As someone working with climate change on a daily basis, it is exciting to see science education in a prominent place on prime time television in the U.S. and around the world. According to National Geographic, last Sunday’s series debut made television history with the largest global rollout for a TV series on 220 channels in 181 countries and 45 languages. With such a prominent stage, lets hope the current version of Cosmos will inspire generations to value nature and desire to understand and protect our world.
Admittedly, I struggle at times with communicating the dire need for our Sierra communities, and people everywhere, to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. In Neil deGrasse Tyson, we have someone who can clearly communicate the overwhelming scientific evidence and with Cosmos he has a stage in which to do so. Hopefully with science returning to the mainstream we can spend less time convincing people of the problems we are facing and more time working together to find solutions that make our lives more comfortable, our communities more resilient, our economies more stable and our environment more vibrant and healthy. I appreciate the opportunity everyday to work for an organization where everything we do has the goal of finding synergistic solutions to the complex issues facing our communities and look forward to seeing the impact, however large or small, that a show like Cosmos might have on the conversation.