ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

Science is at the end of the day, cold, hard solid fact, as we know it. Sure, you might disagree with that, but unless you can bring contrary solid facts to the arena of scientific debate, then you're basically wasting your breath. Despite its officially 'neutral' position - it merely reports things as they are - science, and especially science programs, can be used to push important messages.

For example, the latest episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos didn't shy away, quite rightly, from discussing climate change. Indeed, Tyson went even further to suggest an innovative solution to the problem. Sunday's episode introduced viewers to the fantastically small scale of the molecular and atomic level. Among other things, Tyson explored the cells of plants, investigating their roles as "powerhouses" and describing them as a "3-billion-year-old solar energy collector". He then suggested the answer to climate change could be held within these cells:

But if we could figure out the trade secrets of photosynthesis? Every other source of energy we depend on today—coal, oil, natural gas—would become obsolete. Photosynthesis is the ultimate green power. It doesn't pollute the air, and is in fact carbon neutral. Artificial photosynthesis, on a big enough scale, could reduce the greenhouse effect that's driving climate change in a dangerous direction.

He isn't just spouting scientific mumbo-jumbo, progress is already being made towards this end. The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, sponsored by the University of California and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is already trying to construct "molecular-level energy conversion 'machines' that generate fuels directly from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide."

Unfortunately, it isn't quite as simple as just possessing the technology. It's really a matter of mobilizing people and governments to preserve this Earth and in some cases even believe in the now widely proven process of climate change. The problem might be that people just don't want to believe in it, that they'd rather see it as a non-issue which is better off ignored in favor of funny cat videos or iPhones or whatever other vogue is filling attention spans at that given moment. Furthermore many of the solutions to climate change simply require us to consume less, something people, and perhaps more importantly corporations, do not want to do.

But it probably doesn't matter anyway. According to some we're already too late. Still, Cosmos is good, right?

What do you think? Have you been watching Cosmos? Do you believe in climate change? Get debating below.

Source: MotherJones


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