Josh Willis as Climate Elvis
(Image credit: Climate Elvis – Climate Rock video)

Most days, Josh Willis plays a mild-mannered oceanographer.

“I study global warming for NASA,” he says.

But some people may know him as Climate Elvis. To a rock ‘n’ roll beat, he sings,

“Well the climate has been changing, ‘cuz of greenhouse gases we spew. They trap the heat, and warm the Earth, and melt the glaciers too.”

As Guy Scientist, his film noir-inspired alter-ego, he slyly delivers one-liners about climate change.

In a video of his performance, he says,

“Water sucks up heat faster than a desperate housewife downs mojitos on a hot summer day. And once it gets in the ocean, heat stays for a thousand years – just like your in-laws after dinner.”

Willis’ comedy can be seen on stage around Los Angeles, and on YouTube.

He says humor helps him communicate with non-scientists about the threat of global warming.

“I think it’s really important to help people connect with difficult material like climate change in a way that’s not too scary,” he says. “If I can get somebody to laugh, then it builds a relationship in a way that we can talk about difficult subjects.”

His humor sneaks into his day job, too. His latest NASA project is named Oceans Melting Greenland. Abbreviated, that’s O.M.G.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Daisy Simmons

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...