For many people in North America, Billy Nye was the first introduction to the world of science. The television host has a unique ability to make even the most dense theories fun and accessible to all.
In recent years, Nye has also become rather politically active, using his celebrity, for example, to bring attention to issues related to climate change. When Bill Nye speaks, people listen.
That's why today, Nye's comments about food security in the age of global warming are going viral, though not for the reason he intended.
TL;DR Bill Nye said that as the Earth warms, food production in North American will move north into what "would nominally be Canada." Many took these comments as a suggestion that the U.S. take over Canada's agricultural centres. Nye also stated that Canada lacks the roads and railroads to transport food.
In an interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball this week, Nye offered a rather confusing solution to the impending agricultural problems in the United States.
As the Earth warms, the "growing of food in North America will have to move north into what would nominally be Canada," the Science Guy noted. Many have since pointed out that Nye seems to be suggesting that the U.S. invade Canada in order to obtain control of its agricultural centres in the Prairies.
Nye may have had some confusion about the word "nominally," which in fact means "in name only."
But Nye went on to make even more confusing statements about Canada. "We don't have the infrastructure, we don't have the railroads and roads to move food from that area," ie. Canada, "to where we need it around the world," he told Chris Matthews, implying that Canada has neither roads nor railroads.
In fact, Canada's food transportation infrastructure is highly developed.
Twitter expressed confusion at these bizarre comments.
Bill Nye advocating for the annexation of Canada is not something I foresaw happening in 2019, but then again, it is 2019 https://t.co/03wu4BbCY1— Alex Reino 🏳️🌈 (@alexreino) February 1, 2019
Bill Nye just called for the Annexation of Canada https://t.co/KppcHQAZJw— Kendall (@KendallWellsx) February 1, 2019
Is Bill Nye just grabbing headlines, or is he truly insane?— Michael G. P. Hutchings (@DaCustomBuilder) February 1, 2019
WHAT DO YOU AMERICANS HAVE PLANNED FOR WHAT'S "NORMALLY CANADA" https://t.co/QygqUd6afv— RYAN RULZ OK (@ryanqnorth) January 31, 2019
@BillNye I'm sorry, I can't quite get past the part where you said "What would normally be Canada" --- Are you planning an invasion???— Shari 🇨🇦 🐔🍷 (@ShariFreeWill) February 1, 2019
I'm not sure it makes sense at all? Like does Bill Nye not know what countries are or does he just not know what nominally means??— Kate Cook (@eskay8) February 1, 2019
Nye may have misspoke, but his ambundance of strange comments about Canada seems to suggest he, like many Americans, knows quite little about his neighbour to the north, let alone that it's a sovereign country.
Keep an eye on the border for an invasion force led by Bill Nye.