This post was originally published on GMO Answers' Medium Page.
Science was not my favorite subject in high school. Luckily, Bill Nye the Science Guy was there for me growing up. The 1990s TV celebrity, with his spunky personality and real-life applications, made learning about science enjoyable.
Today, we can continue to learn from Mr. Nye through his Netflix show, “Bill Nye Saves the World.” He brings in experts who are knowledgeable about science that touches our lives. I was particularly intrigued by his episode featuring GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. This YouTube video for the episode made my jaw drop. My favorite line from Nye was, “I actually don’t know a whole lot about it, so I can’t tell you exactly why it scares me, it just does!”
I found this alarming and thought I better chime in. I figured I would put Nye’s main ideas in the episode into terms that a millennial might better understand.
Bill Nye: Get the facts.
Millennial: Talk to the person who deals with it daily.
As millennials, we are inclined to rush to the internet for answers when we have questions about something. The internet is full of “experts,” and, unfortunately, many times the first one we find is the one we believe. I have learned that it’s better to seek out information from a variety of perspectives on a topic. From there, I find a person who is immersed in that topic daily. It only makes sense. For example, I don’t go to my hairstylist for advice about my 401k even though the hairstylist might have opinions about investing. My financial advisor is best suited for that. In similar fashion, Nye went straight to qualified experts when examining GMOs by inviting the CEO of Monsanto, a crop farmer and a professor onto his show.
Bill Nye: Tool in the toolbox.
Millennial: It is an option for farmers to use.
As I get older, I have more and more options in my daily life. I choose that options that work best for me. Take something as simple as shampoo. I get to choose from a variety of brands, scents and benefits. In the end, I pick the shampoo that works best for my hair and fits my financial budget. It’s like the decision-making farmers use when determining which seed to plant in their fields. They want a seed that is going to best fit their soil, budget and production goals.
Bill Nye: OMG, it’s a GMO.
Millennial: There are a lot of opinions about GMOs, don’t believe just one.
Everyone has an opinion. All those viewpoints, which bombard us online, can make it confusing.
The most effective diet, how to raise children, what education is best. In just a couple minutes you can find all sorts of opinions.
During my 24 years, I have learned it is important to listen to everyone’s viewpoints before forming your own opinion. There is no shortage of viewpoints. People tell us things like how to diet most effectively, how to raise children and what education is best. And you can find those opinions in just a couple minutes online.
Nye devoted an entire show to GMOs. Amid today’s short attention spans, 30 minutes is a long time. Even still, for GMOs, which have been the subject of years of research and millions of dollars of investment, there is more for people to learn.
I continue to learn from Nye’s approach — finding credible sources and then discussing their various viewpoints. His willingness to do so speaks to his own credibility and character.
My favorite quote from him is, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” We are not experts in everything. There are lessons we can continue to learn from Bill Nye the Science Guy.