Katie wrote yesterday about Bill Nye's rather, um, abrupt departure from his "The Science Guy" persona from the 90s. Nye, the star of a new Netflix show called "Bill Nye Saves The World," also has some rather interesting thoughts on human population. Namely, he mused over the idea that people in the developed world should be "penalized" for having "extra kids" who will then potentially contribute to climate change.
Nye dedicated the 13th and final episode of the first season of Bill Nye Saves The World to discussing overpopulation and how the world's population has grown rapidly since he was a child. After almost gleefully endorsing family planning and contraception services, Nye and a panel of experts sat down to discuss possible solutions to the issue. After it was pointed out that in Niger people tend to have large families but relatively low carbon footprints, it was agreed that this was permissible. Then, Nye dropped this rather curious zinger: "So should we have policies that penalize people for having extra kids in the developed world?"
While one panelist said that he was slightly in favor of the idea, others took issue with the idea of telling a person how many or how few children they were allowed to have. One pointed out (likely correctly) that poorer women and/or minority women would likely be the ones penalized for this "crime."
Nye doesn't explain what he would consider to be an "extra kid." The replacement level fertility rate is 2.1 children per woman--something that most of the developed world hasn't seen in years. It's downright spooky and chilling to say that parents should be "penalized" for daring to expand their families. If anything, one would think that parents should be encouraged to have more children, lest the rest of the world end up like Japan.
It's also rather upsetting to see being a mother and housewife discussed as if it's a negative. Many women find immense joy and fulfillment in being a mom and homemaker. A woman shouldn't be derided or thought of as lesser-than if she chooses this option instead of pursuing a career. It's not a bad thing, nor should it be looked down upon--yet throughout the episode, it was only discussed in a negative light.
It's sad to see someone who was once a childhood hero of mine (let's be honest, "Bill Nye The Science Guy" days at school were always the best days), fall into this disgusting, quasi-nihilist rhetoric. Bill Nye used to be funny and informative. Now he's just cringe-worthy.
And for good measure, here's a list of "extra kids" who I'm pretty happy were born:
1. Celine Dion (youngest of 14 children)
2. Dolly Parton (fourth out of 12 children)
3. Stephen Colbert (youngest of 11 children)
4. Ben Franklin (his father's 15th child and his mother's eighth)
5. Jim Gaffigan (youngest of 6 children)