Cameron’s “Years of Living Dangerously” Project Lands Today

April 7, 2014

After a long period of development, James Cameron’s terrific and powerful mega-project on climate change, “Years of Living Dangerously”, opens today on Showtime.
The first hour installment of the 9 part series features glimpses of climate change impacts around the planet through the eyes of well known guides.
First episode is free online, above.

The series sets a dramatic, powerful urgent tone. The first episode takes the bull by the horns – crisscrossing the planet to take snapshots of climate impacts, and the processes behind them, through the eyes of those impacted.

Don Cheadle explores  drought impacts in the US Southwest. Maybe not so surprising – the very people who are being crushed by the impact of climate change, lower class rural folk in Texas, are unable to make a connection between global climate and their problems. They prefer to believe the problems come from God, or natural cycles.  Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe is profiled in her battle against entrenched attitudes and scientific ignorance in that part of the world.
Tom Friedman looks into the impacts of drought on the drought fueled civil war in Syria, and Harrison Ford journeys into the Borneo rainforest, where mega-corporations and corruption are turning massive forest reserves of carbon, and the wildlife it supports, into smoke and greenhouse gas.

If the first installment is any indication, this is a major contribution. The question is how best to spread it beyond the premium cable audience. Taking some time to watch this first hour is a good first step.


23 Responses to “Cameron’s “Years of Living Dangerously” Project Lands Today”

  1. This show is looking great! Thanks for posting this. Hope I will be able to view the other episodes in some way – dunno if Showtime is available worldwide?

  2. Since I don’t get cable, I hope I’ll have access to these shows after they run.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Ditto. Why can’t the major networks provide shows like this on free TV?

      • Wes Says:

        When was the last time you saw the major networks take climate seriously? And they’d have to get advertisers. They’re happy to report the disasters without mentioning climate.

        • Last night… NBC. Although I have to admit, it’s the very first time I’ve seen them do such a story.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            You beat me to it. I was also going to say “last night” on NBC.

            To Wes, NBC HAS taken climate seriously in the past, albeit in small and perhaps somewhat insubstantial “bites” compared to last night. Is the sponsor situation that much different for free TV as compared to cable? Maybe this is another area in which the Sierra Club and other activist groups could exert some pressure? Asking companies to sponsor such shows?

    • I am essentially in the same position. Moira prefers not to have regular TV or cable TV in the house, although she doesn’t mind Net Flicks. I generally don’t care except in rare instances such as this.

      Regardless, I thought this episode was especially good. I particularly liked how it switched back and forth between Texas, Indonesia and Syria, using each to illustrate different aspects of industrial climate disruption. Showing how drought may lead to political instability may be of some value, at least with US audiences, especially since it shows how Al Qaeda is opportunistically taking advantage of Syria’s civil war, undoubtedly to the detriment of the repressive regime as well as the revolutionaries whose soldiers it executed.

  3. Drought Forces Ensenada To Ration Water — And It’s Only Spring

  4. ^oops wrong link, sorry!

    Drought Forces Ensenada To Ration Water — And It’s Only Spring

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Interesting clip. They have no real answers in Mexico either. Drill more wells, lay more pipes, put water tanks on the roof , and “Don’t worry, be happy” (…..and pray).

  5. Superb!
    But it could be a bit more balanced: I’d expected some bits from Washington DC polit zombies, not just Rick Perry of Texas. It might then dawn on some of the voters what to do first about global warming.

    (Apropos zombie. Looking forward to read Omno’s opinion, bwahahahaha…)

  6. […] After a long period of development, James Cameron’sk terrific and powerful mega-project on climate change, “Years of Living Dangerously”, opens today on Showtime.The first hour installment of the 9 part series features glimpses of climate change impactsaround the planet through the eyes of well known guides.First episode is free online, above.  […]

  7. rayduray Says:

    OK, I just finished watching the Showtime “Years of Living Dangerously”. Last night I watched the NBC News’ special on climate in its entirety. Here’s a web based NBC item on this program:

    I’d have to say that just as I was pleasantly surprised at the intelligence and richness of the coverage of science as well as disaster in the NBC piece, I was equally disappointed at the Showtime approach. Sending Harrison Ford up in a converted military jet to sample air that could have just as easily been sampled by a dumb old Cessna or a series of weather stations shows how out of touch our species is. How big was Harrison Ford’s carbon footprint in order to show an old actor grandstanding and joy riding? Sheesh. We’re never going to solve the climate problem if we can’t even understand how we inadvertently create it all the time.

    As far as the coverage of Indonesia is concerned, Ford did pretty good on the ruthless destruction of the tropical rain forest. Sure, palm oil is a big culprit in the mismanagement of Indonesia’s land. Sure, the forest minister is a crook for giving away the national park to the rape & pillage crowd. But what about the hundreds of thousands of indigenous people in Indonesia who have had their subsistence farms stolen from them so the urban Indonesian elite can build golf courses? Is that message too close to home for most Americans?

    So, my thumb is up for NBC and Ann Curry. And I have a neutral view at best of the Cameron production on Showtime. As a dedicated rationalist and secular thinker, I was aghast at the accommodation of superstition, i.e. whacko evangelical Christian religious claptrap in the Hayhoe segments. Coddling Christian insanity is simply not going to get the job done. We need people to give up their delusions and either join the real world or else simply fade into the background of our increasingly irrational, anti-intellectual nation.

  8. OK. I’m going to admit something.

    When I see the evangelical Christians with their incredibly smug looks, when they deny the science, my deep, deep gut reaction is not just anger but maybe verging on hate. Probably not the emotion that I should allow to drive me, nor do I think this deep seated hate will do anything good. But that’s the reality of how I feel when I watch these people talk about this. Thank God there are people like Katherine Hayhoe out there who can reach through to some of them, because I guarantee if I had to be the one it’d end up more like war, sort of like the situation in Syria eh?

    It’s because there are people like this all over the world, who are affecting MY children’s future. Mine. It’s personal, to me.

    • andrewfez Says:

      At least they’re not burning witches for cursing their land.

      But yeah, the mentality they have is the same as that of the bunch of old school South Americans performing large numbers of human sacrifices so that the sun (and the rain for their crops) would keep showing up on a regular basis.

      It’s mass delusion.

      Incidentally, I think the Mayans were destroyed, at least in part, by drought as well.

      • I believe there is also a theory that they had problems with erosion due to the clearing of forests around their agricultural areas. There are some questions whether this was already a problem for some time though, but the drought sort of put the final nail the coffin. I believe a lot of the first agriculture in the middle east experienced much the same. Roots are very nice to have around for holding the soil in place, even during a serious drought.

  9. […] not kidding – based on the first hour, this is powerful stuff, and it needs to be emailed, shared, facebooked, tweeted, and seen widely. I’m told that the […]

  10. redskylite Says:

    I’m very impressed, I like the three diverse stories running in parallel, reminds me of a work by my favourite author James Clavell. Really well done work, and thanks for sharing.

    • Yes I agree. The tone of the movie was very good – not filled with spectacular drama and all that – but simply showing the state of knowledge about the problem is lacking with some people. I like that they are not trying to portray religious people as “bad guys” or deniers – but rather that they might just need a bit more information about the science. It also shows a clear disconnect between the lives we live and the consequences – and that we can be made aware of these connections if we choose to care about our planet. As I have said many times before – it doesn’t matter what your faith is or whether you are right or left in the politics – but that we all take responsibility for the well being of the planet and all its inhabitants, no matter which species of life.

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