Years of Living Dangerously

Years of Living Dangerously is an American documentary television series, spread over two seasons, focusing on climate change. The first season, consisting of nine episodes, was broadcast on Showtime in 2014. The second season, consisting of eight episodes, was broadcast on the National Geographic Channel in 2016. Executive producers included James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and series creators Joel Bach and David Gelber (formerly of 60 Minutes).[1] Joseph Romm and Heidi Cullen were the chief science advisors.[2] The series won an Emmy Award as Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series.

The weekly episodes featured celebrity hosts with a history of environmental activism and well-known journalists with a background in environmental reportage. These "correspondents" traveled throughout the United States and globally to interview experts and ordinary people affected by, and seeking solutions to, the effects of climate change. The hosts served as reporters and proxies for the audience, asking questions to find out people's opinions and discover the scientific evidence.[3][4] The final episode of season one featured an interview of President Barack Obama.[5]

Episodes explored the effects of rising sea levels, historic droughts and flooding, water scarcity, ocean acidification, deforestation and the rapidly increasing extinction rate of species, but also focused on "solutions that individuals, communities, companies and even governments can use to address worldwide climate change",[6][7] including cheaper solar and wind energy, advancing battery technology and electric cars.[8] Hosts included Cameron, Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Ian Somerhalder, America Ferrera, David Letterman, Gisele Bündchen, Jack Black, Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, Sigourney Weaver, and various other actors and journalists.[9][10][11]

Schwarzenegger reflected on how the series tries to make the issue of climate change resonate with the public: "I think the environmental movement only can be successful if we are simple and clear and make it a human story. We will tell human stories in this project. The scientists would never get the kind of attention that someone in show business gets."[12] Cameron elaborated: "We didn’t use our celebrities as talking head experts, because they’re not climate experts. They were concerned, intelligent, curious citizens who were out to find answers. They were functioning as journalists."[13] Newsweek said that the celebrity hosts "lend sparks to an issue that sends most viewers for the exits".[14]

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