Showtime’s new series on climate change is a historic first

One example of climate change - a destroyed forest in the middle of an Indonesian national park

One example of climate change – a destroyed forest in the middle of an Indonesian national park

In the television industry, there are numerous “special” networks – those devoted to special broad topics. These include The History Channel and Animal Planet, among others. But until now there has never been even a series that focused on the biggest challenge humans ever faced – climate change.

Showtime has stepped into this gap with its new series Years of Living Dangerously.

Premiering this Sunday at 10 p.m., the series focuses not only the issues of climate change but especially on the people it effects. And it also features some of our best known celebrities who are passionate about the issues – people like Harrison Ford and Don Cheadle,  who venture out on expeditions measuring methane with NASA scientists and try to understand why some accept manmade climate change and others say droughts and extreme weather are simply acts of God. Journalist Thomas L. Friedman also explores a drought that has influenced serious conflict in three Middle Eastern countries.

Years of Living Dangerously graphic“I wanted to know what caused the drought that cost these people their jobs,” says actor Don Cheadle. “Was it just an act of god? Part of the natural cycle? Or could it have been caused by us?”

The next eight episodes of the series will feature reports from journalists like Chris Hayes and Lesley Stahl, as well as actors like Matt Damon and Olivia Munn.

For those who don’t have Showtime, here’s a link to view the first episode. It brings home how dramatic the effects of this issue are, making it very real. If you don’t have Showtime, it would be worth it to make sure you can buddy up with friends to see the entire series. The series is also a great opportunity to share with your kids. It’s a quality learning tool for kids who likely can grasp enough of what’s going on in each episode. And take some time to explore Years’ website. There’s some valuable information there you’ll want to see.

Kudos to Showtime for stepping out this way. Let’s hope the response to this program fosters more such quality TV and a stronger national conversation on climate change.

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