• Victoria Price

Objectivity & Oil Sands: A ’90s Kid’s Opinion About Bill Nye

In my last entry my scientific inspiration, Bill Nye the Science Guy was mentioned. Days after that entry went live, Bill Nye came to Alberta to visit our oil sands to shoot part of his new Kickstarter-funded documentary about climate change. He had some things to say that have been largely condemned by many who live by and support their families through employment that the industry provides.

I woke up to an email from Brittney on Saturday morning with a link to the following industry insider response to The Science Guy’s comments. Immediately my mind flew to the idea of, “Oh no. You’re guilty by association!” But part of being a fan/ follower/ devotee/ enjoy-er/ student ofanything is being willing to remain objective and keep an open mind; admit when you’re wrong. In fact, those are the very principles that science is founded upon. So while I was getting ready for my cousin’s wedding, I kept that in mind, and I penned the following response:

This was a good read! Thanks for sending it along. I feel like Bill Nye has been added to the list of celebrity names that must not be uttered in my family’s house haha!

I’m often disappointed when celebrities make a point of travelling to Alberta to fuss about our oil sands. We have set the precedent for environmental standards on the globe. West Africa?The Middle East? Even California’s oil industry is nowhere near as scrupulous in their environmental standards (Especially given they are in the midst of a potentially catastrophic drought.) Nobody is perfect but Alberta’s oil production is a hot topic for people who don’t live here and aren’t directly involved in it, thus, uneducated.

Alternatively, where I stand on the issue is yes; we have amazing measures in place to keep the oil sands as environmentally mindful as we can. But… they could always be better, right?

Bill Nye’s comments regarding the oil sands don’t vex me as much as some others (I’m looking at you, Daryl Hannah and Leonardo DiCaprio!) I figure that at least instead of taking a jet to Alberta and scooting back to California to catch some down-time on his yacht, Nye at least demonstrates a mindset of, “So let’s do something about it!” He’s not mindlessly bloviating and demanding the shutdown of the oil industry. He’s a mechanical engineer, not a scientist. If growing up with an engineer as a Father taught me anything: The guy just wants stuff to be better!

I really do wish people would look at other places on the globe that are far more impacted by unsafe environmental regulations… Alberta isn’t so bad! I guess we friendly, apologetic Canadians have to have at least ONE black mark against us (;

© 2019 by BRITT Land & Engagement

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