Bill Nye to UMass Lowell Graduates: ‘Change the World!’

Touching on climate change, asteroids, and specks of matter in the universe, the "Science Guy" motivated students to make big things happen.

Image via UMass Lowell

Image via UMass Lowell

In a speech that spanned more topics than outer space has stars, legendary scientist and 1990s television star Bill Nye “the Science Guy” had one underlying message for UMass Lowell’s 2014 graduating class: go off and change the world.

“I say if people go into the world, and they go in ready for change, change will happen,” Nye told the thousands of students eager to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas during Saturday’s commencement ceremony.

Nye, the executive director of The Planetary Society, bestowed upon graduates a speech that he hoped would ignite some sort of desire for them to tackle the troubles of the world.

Citing the profound impacts that the ever-increasing human population is having on our planet’s resources and atmosphere, and focusing on controversial topics like climate change and how it will inevitably shape our existence on earth, Nye deflected the naysayers who think rapidly shifting weather patterns and unexplained natural disasters are schemes manipulated by the brains of scientists.

“Conspiracy theories are for lazy people, people who don’t want to get down to the business at hand, so everybody please dismiss those ideas at once,” he said. “We have to engage [those people], and bring them around, so we can get to work and dare I say it, change the world. We are at a tipping point and with just a little bit more engagement, and discussion, and a few more hilarious comedy bits, people will get to work on climate change. I want you to spark this movement, and give it direction, and I want you to change the world.”

Nye even encouraged graduates with an engineering or science degree to start thinking about ways to stop the possible threat of a large meteor pummeling the earth, causing widespread catastrophe like it did for the dinosaurs. “I hope some of you sitting here today are the ones to make those discoveries,” Nye said during his speech, urging students to go for the “high-hanging fruit,” look toward the the stars, and worry less about tackling the smaller issues that may crop up. “We are counting on you.”

Nye told students to always keep an open mind, and never underestimate just how powerful a person’s ideas and minds can be, even if they are one, small speck in an undiscovered universe filled with billions of other specks and particles.

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t, and this is troubling for us know-it-alls. But respect their knowledge, learn from them—it’ll bring out the best in both of you,” he said. “I want you all to keep looking up and out into the cosmos, and question things…change the world!”