@BillNye / Twitter AOC gets it She sees that 1552234857.jpg...
@BillNye / Twitter

If you thought millennials couldn’t love New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez more, just wait until you see this video of her chatting with none other than beloved climate activist and television host, William Sanford Nye. AKA: Bill Nye the Science Guy.

This surprise conversation went down during a panel at South by Southwest (SXSW) on Saturday. Held in Austin, Texas, SXSW is a massive conference and festival hybrid, where people from the tech, music, film, arts, and other industries come together once a year, typically in mid-March, to talk big ideas.

For Ocasio-Cortez, who participated in a panel called, “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the New Left,” people came out in droves. Her panel, moderated by Briahna Gray, Senior Politics Editor at The Intercept, was standing-room only.

At the end of the panel, during the Q&A portion, Nye approached the mic with his question like every other attendee.

Here’s what he said:

“I’m a white guy. I think the problem on both sides is fear. People of my ancestry are afraid to pay for everything as immigrants come into this country. People who work at the diner in Alabama are afraid to ask for what is reasonable.

So do you have a plan to work with people in Congress that are afraid? That’s what’s going on with many conservatives especially when it comes to climate change. People are afraid of what happens when we try to make these big changes.”

The congresswoman gave Nye a standing ovation of his own, then replied:

“One of the keys to dismantling fear is dismantling a zero-sum mentality…It means the rejection outright of the logic that says someone else’s gain necessitates my loss and that my gain MUST necessitate someone’s loss. We can give without a take. We’re viewing progress as a loss instead of as an investment. When we choose to invest in our system, we are choosing to create wealth. When we all invest in them, then the wealth is for all of us too.”

Mind you, it’s not remotely surprising that Nye would support the Green New Deal. Nye has been an environmental activist in the public eye for decades. Like Ocasio-Cortez, Nye hasn’t been shy about supporting plans and proposals that some consider to be daring or too big. Some critics are unconvinced that the Green New Deal (which aims to tackle global warming by investing in environmentally-friendly jobs, among other things) is practical. And of course, there are people like Ivanka Trump who think Americans don’t want to be given jobs.

In her exchange with Nye, Ocasio-Cortez added, “Courage begets courage. The first person who stands up has to encounter the most amount of fear and discomfort, but once that one person stands up, it becomes immensely easier for the second person and the third.”

Nye tweeted about the conversation:

The congresswoman replied in what is, really, the only way to respond to the Science Guy:

Outside of her exchange with Nye, Ocasio-Cortez also discussed race, class, and dismantling structural imbalances in politics. She encouraged the audiencewho met much of her words with applause and supportto forgo the all-too-common “ meh” mentality regarding politics. She urged people to drop cynicism, arguing that it’s seen “as an intellectually superior attitude.”

“We should distance ourselves,” the congresswoman said. “And start getting away from this idea that we should only care about ourselves.”

You can watch the full exchange here:

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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