In the new video above, Bill Nye the Science Guy explains why climate change is much more than a buzzword. “It’s a real and serious issue,” he says.
In fact, the world’s leaders are debating what to do about it this week in Paris. It’s true Earth’s climate has changed through time naturally due to slight changes in the planet’s orbit, Nye notes, “but climate change as we know it today is characterized by an abrupt increase in the Earth’s temperature.”
That’s 1.2 to 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer over the past century. Ten of the last 13 years were the warmest on record (including this year, according to a recent report). And 97 percent of climate scientists think this warming has been caused by human activity, Nye says.
“That means you, and me,” he says, thanks to all the things we do that result in more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Those gases keep more of the sun’s heat trapped near the surface, resulting in rising temperatures, a warming ocean, rising sea levels, and more natural disasters.
Although the effects of climate change are threatening, “scientists still believe there are things we can do on a personal level to help,” says Nye. Those strategies include recycling and reusing things, walking and using public transit, turning off unused appliances, and eating less meat.
“When it comes to climate change, the main takeaway is it’s real,” says Nye. “And although we are part of the problem, we can also be part of the solution.”