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Erin Greeson - Headshot

Bill Nye’s “Unstoppable” Book & New Greatest Generation

Posted by Erin Greeson

10-11-2015 8:00 CST

Topics: personal stories, events and announcements, Bill Nye

First, it was undeniable. Now, it’s unstoppable.

In his new book, “Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World,” Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye addresses a “New Greatest Generation” --  today’s young leaders who embrace science and optimism for a viable future. While Bill can be described as unstoppable (he wrote this book while seeing LightSail through its test flight, hosting the Humans Orbiting Mars workshop, visiting the U.S. President on Earth Day, celebrating New Horizons’ Pluto flyby and more), his new book is about a movement, not one man.

As a child of the hypercolor 80s, teen of the mosh-pit 90s, and young adult of the 2000s - a time of post 9/11 policies, media and social trends -  I’ve thought a lot about movements. “Unstoppable” is a big step forward for the movement of our time, the movement for our future. As Bill emphasizes, this movement is about us - all of Earth’s citizens - and what’s possible when science and optimism prevail.

A follow-up to his New York Times bestseller, “Undeniable,” it’s about choices we face, facts to inform us and actions we take as a world community. It’s the latest in Bill’s work to inspire people to preserve our “planetary home” and explore the cosmos through the beauty and empowerment of science.


St. Martin's Press

The son of World War II veterans (his mother and father), Bill’s bright kind of patriotism honors past generations’ heroes while amplifying today’s. Turn it up loud, he says. Let’s change the world. And people are onboard.

“Unstoppable” addresses the Earth climate change crisis and the movement to do something about it. A history lesson for today’s climate action leaders, Bill writes about Carl Sagan -- Planetary Society co-founder, Bill’s astronomy professor at Cornell University and unforgettable advocate for Earth and exploration. Examining Venus and Earth, Sagan led pioneering comparative climatology studies and was outspoken about global warming. He described it as the environmental crisis of our time: nearly 20 years ago (“Billions and Billions,” 1997). Without a mass-movement, calls for change were met with questions, counteraction and small spigot drips of progress when a deluge was due. Today, things are different. The “New Greatest Generation”  can take its planetary home and future into its hands.

Space exploration is key in “Unstoppable.” The movement for science includes surging public support for space. One chapter, “The Case for Space,” describes the return on investment humanity achieves through (comparatively small) investments in space science. Another, “Do Humans Have a Destiny in Space?,” addresses our innate urge to explore the cosmos beyond our Pale Blue Dot, our “planetary home.”

While the creative community crafts tantalizing fictional visions of what’s possible, the science community sparks momentum to explore other worlds like never before. Government space agencies and private sector industries are key, but it’s the citizen power behind this push - students, teachers, kids, parents, artists, engineers, people of all walks of life -- that’s equally exciting.  Within the year that Andy Weir’s book, “The Martian,” became a blockbuster film, NASA made strides with its Journey to Mars plans in the wake of Orion’s successful test mission. Last week, NASA announced a new wave of astronaut recruitment to match the new era for human spaceflight. The Planetary Society published the Humans Orbiting Mars workshop report and, at our 35th Anniversary Celebration, NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman reminded revelers that space exploration is not about individuals, but collective effort: While the journey to Mars will be NASA-led, it requires a collective effort: we invite the world to be part of it. In “Unstoppable,” Bill highlights LightSail as a close-to-home example of how passionate people are to support space exploration.  

He reminds us that we are are all inherently explorers, a message brought to music in melodysheep’s music video, “Beyond the Horizon.”

How will history books define today’s generations? Our successes, our failures, and character? As part of the New Greatest Generation, the answer is in your hands.

Congratulations, Bill, on this latest giant leap to change the world!

See other posts from November 2015


Or read more blog entries about: personal stories, events and announcements, Bill Nye


mememine69: 11/10/2015 08:33 CST

Climate science is 97% certain of a CO2 Armageddon and 97% certain that smoking causes cancer? Why would you peace loving liberals want this misery to have been real for our children? You liberals exaggerate vague science of a crisis to our children just like the fear fostering neocons you hissy fit hate so much. Only 34 MORE years of climate action delay, debate and global denial is certain and unstoppable now.

mortimer: 11/10/2015 11:57 CST

I've never been a denier (though i don't consider the word an insult : skepticism is a needed quality when it comes to science) but as a space lover i won't discard Henrik Svensmark's theories (He's not a denier but he has different explanations like sun and milky way activities and effects on cloud formation rather than the human made co2 factor) ... those are beautiful theories which very cleverly are considering climate changes not only by observing our earthian microcosmos but the all universe and its potential effect on us and they've not been proven wrong yet ... though some guy from the controversial IPCC tried hard (Peter Laut was the guy i think ...) the CERN (which is commonly considered a respected organization) is still testing the theories under the name CLOUD, very interesting stuff if your mind is open enough to consider every possible explanations which in the context of this much heated (no punt) debate is kind of hard ... saddly ... by the way there's a very easy and natural way of fighting CO2 emissions : you need more green ! Might sound controversial to some but scientifically true : hemp would be the best CO2 killer, it loves to absorb CO2 a lot and you can grow on fallow fields with good effect for the soil (because of hemp root structure) (so it would also help to rest a field for only one year instead of two while being productive for the farmers) nearly everywhere 2 to 3 times a year and the equivalent of only 1/3 of the us territory would give the world a 0 carbon balance (if we don't change anything to our co2 emissions, but we can work on that too hopefully) ... easy ! I'm sorry but i can't help being amused at usa waking up to global warming only now and with the idea that they will lecture everyone about it ... it's about time ! the debate is raging for like 25 years nearly everywhere else in the world ... and everything we tried to fight against global warming was always blocked by the us politics on a nearly unilateral basis

russg: 11/10/2015 02:52 CST

Bill's desire for inventions to the CO2 problem is satisfied if he only look. In the 1980's a great ocean scientist, John Martin, proposed just such a solution. His lifetime of work on ocean ecology had revealed the oceans were losing their plant life, phytoplankton, for want of a little dust in the wind. Our CO2 was greening the land and with 'more grass growing, less dust was blowing." That missing dust had been keeping the oceans nourished, healthy, and with flourishing ocean fish pastures. Today, 25 years later, the work of Martin has been proven with large scale ecological restoration of ocean fish pastures demonstrated resulting in billions of additional fish produced. Later this month at Paris' COP21 climate change event tens of thousands of officials and interested people will spend a billion dollars on the 11 day event. A similar single billion dollar sum set aside as a trust fund to restore and sustain ocean fish pastures would do so in all of the worlds Seven Seas for the rest of this century! Those restored ocean pastures and their phytoplankton would each and every year this century convert billions of tonnes of CO2 into ocean life itself and in the bargain deliver billions of additional fish each year into the nets and onto the plates of hungry people around the world. All not at a cost of hundreds of billions or trillions as the Paris cabal is crying for but for mere millions every year.

George: 11/10/2015 05:56 CST

Seriously, is the Planetary Society becoming Bill Nye's PR team? I thought this organization was supposed to be about *planetary science,* not the Bill Nye book club. And given Mr. Nye's track record of influence (selfie, Mr. President?), I think he's an embarrassment as CEO. Mr. Obama has actively *defunded* planetary science on Mr. Nye's watch, not increased it. It's the Congress who's come through... but selfies with Congress men and women don't get you publicity, do they Mr. Nye?

Chris: 11/10/2015 06:07 CST

I agree with George. Why is the focus on Mr. Nye all the time now? I miss the old Planetary Society where science was the focus. His personality seems to crowd out the traditional focus. Maybe it's time to pass the torch?

Ryan Powers: 11/11/2015 10:28 CST

George, Chris Bill is a brand. Does the brand sometimes cloud the true nature of the Planetary Society? Yes. But does his likeness lead swarms of people to its doorstep? Yes. His ability to corral the layman and turn them towards a lifelong interest in obtaining knowledge is why he was named the CEO. It is the best move the Society has made since its conception. Nye is not personally making scientific discoveries and changing the world, but he is shepherding countless, curious minds to do just that. How will we replenish this generation’s cache of science lovers with replacements if we do not seed the curiosity of those that follow us? A life in science is a life of BOTH discovery and educating others. If you discover and do not teach, your findings die alongside you. If you educate but do not discover, you quickly find out there is nothing new to talk about. A lifelong ebb and flow between the two makes a balance that benefits all. Look through the lens that views the human species as one organism—some of us are delegated the task to discover, and others, like Bill, are delegated the task to teach. Concurrently, as one, we discover and educate. We ebb and flow. If knowledge were retained by discoverers and held hostage in the high strata of academia, it would do humans no good. Large knowledge inequality does not cultivate progress. Human progress only occurs when the aggregate baseline understanding of our world and our place in it, is elevated—knowledge equality, which is William Nye’s number one goal. That is Bill’s task. That should be all of our tasks. And he does it while playing a public relations game on a level that many of us know little about—so I am not going to criticize his good intentions.

George : 11/12/2015 11:40 CST

Ryan, Thanks for your thoughtful response. But, in fact, I think you underscore my point. This is a Planetary Society blog, not a Bill Nye one. He sucks the oxygen out of the room, so to speak, and comes up empty with regard to planetary science funding. The focus is him, not the Planetary Society mission.

mortimer: 11/12/2015 12:35 CST

Anyway ... lot of work for Bill !!! : here what John Kerry was quote saying just yesterday about COP21 : "Kerry told Thursday's Financial Times that there was "definitively not going to be a treaty", as favoured by the European Union and many other countries. While the conference will encourage a "significant amount of investment" in a low-carbon economy, "they're not going to be legally binding reduction targets like Kyoto," Kerry said, referring to the 1997 UN treaty that contained supposedly binding targets for cutting emissions." Knowing that it would be better to just cancel COP21 considering it will be a useless hypocrit and costly meeting ... the song remains the same. I also agree with the other comments, less personal promotion / more planetary science please especially on a controversial subject like that ... oh and while i'm at it please do never ever again spend our money in a symphony of science piece of musical crap (seriously that's the most irritating, rubbish, awful bits of sounds i've ever heard in my whole life ... what a waste !)

Bill - not Nye: 04/17/2016 03:34 CDT

Like many others I do not believe in man made global warming. If I understand what Mr. Nye has spoken or written, I believe that he is supporting the man made cause of the situation. If I am correct then I am deeply disappointed that the leader of a scientific society is leading in a direction that has been denied by thousands of scientific people around the world for years. The main supporters of this man made concept in the U S are politically influenced and can give no real proof of their charge since all real scientific data points in the opposite direction. I would hope that if we truly want to get to the moon, Mars, and the stars that we don't aim the spaceship into the ditch before we can even have a chance to blast off from Earth.

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