James Cameron's 'Years of Living Dangerously' Rocks

By Dr. Jeff Masters
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Published: 12:55 AM GMT on April 09, 2014

The biggest story of our time is climate change. The stunningly severe and unprecedented extreme weather events of the past few years are just a early harbinger of the civilization-shaking events our increasingly hostile and violent atmosphere will throw at us, as Earth's climate responds as it must to the huge changes humans have wrought. Unfortunately, the greatest story of our time has thus far primarily been told by scientists, who are not natural story tellers. Effective story telling is essential to communicating important truths, since it acts on a gut level. That's why I'm excited about the latest effort to tell the story of climate change by one of Hollywood's master story tellers--James Cameron, creator of Titanic and Avatar.


Video 1. The first episode of Showtime’s ”Years of Living Dangerously” has been posted in its entirely to YouTube.

Years of Living Dangerously
Beginning on Sunday, April 13, at 10pm EDT, an 8-part documentary series on climate change called Years of Living Dangerously airs on Showtime, the premium cable service. The previews I've seen show a top-notch production effort with stunning visuals. Starring are Jessica Alba, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lesley Stahl, and Thomas L. Friedman. The science is excellent, provided by climate science experts like Heidi Cullen, Michael Mann, Katharine Hayhoe, James Hansen, and Joe Romm. Dr. Romm promises: "This will blow you away. Nothing like this has ever been on TV. Indeed, this isn't just landmark climate TV. It is landmark TV, in terms of its storytelling and cinematography and the way it uses experts and celebrities. This is not a talking heads show. This is like 60 Minutes meets Homeland or Game of Thrones." After viewing the first episode, I have to agree—this is the most compelling documentary ever done on climate change. I like how the show focuses on the greatest threat climate change poses to civilization—drought. The causes of the 2012 Texas drought are explored by Texas Tech climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe. Harrison Ford studies how intensifying drought conditions in recent years in the regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, including Syria, have been linked to human-caused climate change. Could climate change have contributed to the outbreak of the brutal civil war there? The issue is explored in detail in this first episode of "Years of Living Dangerously."

Dangerous climate change is already upon us, and I look forward to seeing this greatest story of our time being told on Showtime's “Years of Living Dangerously” on Sunday evenings over the coming weeks.

Jeff Masters

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About The Author
Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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James Cameron's 'Years of Living Dangerously' Rocks

The biggest story of our time is climate change. The stunningly severe and unprecedented extreme weather events of the past few years are just a early harbinger of the civilization-shaking events our increasingly hostile and violent atmosphere will throw at us, as Earth's climate responds as it must to the huge changes humans have wrought. Unfortunately, the greatest story of our time has thus far primarily been told by scientists, who are not natural story tellers....

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