In a rambling commencement speech to graduates of Lehigh University, Bill Nye, also known as The Science Guy to the under-40 set, told students that the world’s biggest threat was overpopulation. “As you commence your adult, taxpaying lives, these two troubles loom larger than ever. They both are readily expressed with numbers. The first is the number of us. People are being born much faster than they are dying. With every passing 15 seconds, the world has more people on it,” Bill Nye told the presumably riveted crowd. “The other problem is our air. Its gas fractions are changing faster ever than they have in the past 65 million years.”
How did this affect the graduates? “I want you to meet those two challenges,” Bill Nye said. “I want you to – dare I say it? – change the world!” He then went into a long rant about the history of population growth in the United States. “As a boy in the New York World’s Fair back in 1965, I remember well a large display, a tote board depicting the estimated world population of humans …. While we were at the World’s Fair, the world’s population changed from 2,999,999,999 to 3 billion people. Humans. On Earth.” He said we now have 7 billion people on Earth. “Wait, there’s more!” he said to the students. “By the time you graduates reach your billionth second here on Earth, when you’re a little over 60, we may be over 9 billion.”
His recommendations: “You could run in circles screaming …. The shortest cut is to raise the standard of living for women worldwide.” This prompted sporadic applause.
Overpopulation has not been a major concern except for the Malthusian left for the last several decades. Back in the 1970s, Professor Paul Ehrlich predicted widespread starvation and misery thanks to population growth. That did not take place. But Nye won’t let this hackneyed nonsense go. Instead, citing his first Earth Day, Nye said, “Change was built in. It’s part of the way we do business, rather than just opening fire …. I’m very hopeful that this class will be part of what I hope will be world-changing changes.”
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).