Bakersfield and San Joaquin Valley residents with an interest in the environment in general and climate change in particular have no doubt been enjoying Showtime's new documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously. In a bold move to bring the subject to the masses in a different manner, several of Hollywood's biggest and most powerful actors, directors, and producers have joined together to tell the story of climate change from a people impact perspective.
The effort has resulted in a refreshing change from the technical and oftentimes acrimonious "debate" between those armed with scientific knowledge about the subject and deniers who refuse to acknowledge anything that strays from their personal feelings and beliefs. Each episode consists of separate vignettes that tell a different part of the climate change story and how people and governments from different parts of the world have been, are, and will be affected by anthropogenic climate change.
Powerful, moving, dramatic, educational, and with excellent, state-of-the-art technical and production values, the series is not to be missed if you care about the environment.
Here is a list of nine of Hollywood's elite who are involved in the production:
Actress Jessica Alba is one of the correspondents on Years of Living Dangerously. Well known for her starring roles in such films as Dark Angel and The Fantastic Four, she is also a best selling author and heavily involved in environmental and social issues, particularly those involving women and children.
As the current spokesperson for the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition, she has joined with public health experts to lobby for increased protections against toxic chemicals.
Jerry Weintraub is one of the most successful and powerful producers and philanthropists in Hollywood. His fingerprints have been all over movies, television, theatre, and music.
He has supported a wide range of causes, including health issues, the arts, and education. Weintraub is one of the executive producers of Years of Living Dangerously.
One of the most successful writers, directors, and producers in film history, James Cameron is one of the executive producers of Years of Living Dangerously. His acclaimed films have included the Terminator series, Aliens, The Abyss, and the two biggest blockbusters of all time, Titanic and Avatar..
He is also a National Geographic Explorer in Residence and has been heavily involved with undersea exploration and the development of submersible vehicles and 3D camera equipment.
As the former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger was responsible for signing into law California's AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act. The legislation is one of the few climate change initiatives in the entire country.
He is both an Executive Producer and Correspondent on Years of Living Dangerously, with a particular focus on climate change's influence on drought and wildfires.
Michael C. Hall
Michael C. Hall will probably forever be remembered as the actor who made a serial killer a star in Showtime's award winning drama, Dexter. He will be seen as a correspondent in Bangladesh in Years of Living Dangerously.
One of the most successful box office stars in film history, Harrison Ford plays a key role in Years of Living Dangerously. Focusing on the dangerous impacts of burning rain forests in Indonesia in order to build palm oil plantations, Ford's confrontation with corrupt government officials is mesmerizing.
Academy Award winner Matt Damon is one of the correspondents in Years of Living Dangerously. His interest in environmental matters is keen, as he also recently starred in the feature film Promised Land, which dealt with the controversial drilling technique known as fracking. In addition he is actively involved in water issues in Africa, having co-founded Water.org (originally known as H2O Africa) in 2006.
Famed actor Don Cheadle has one of the more intriguing correspondent roles in Years of Living Dangerously. He interviews a professional climate change scientist, Katharine Hayhoe, who is also deeply religious and a devout Christian. The series shows her discussing climate science with evangelicals and other Christians and explaining that there is no conflict between their understanding of God's word and current scientific conclusions that man-made emissions are warming the planet.