Though it’s produced by a veritable Hollywood power squad — Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron and Jerry Weintraub — and stocked with celebrity correspondents, the real stars of Showtime’s stunning climate-change docuseries Years of Living Dangerously are the everyday souls from around the globe whose lives have been irreparably changed by the weather.
While the verity of global warming has been a polarizing issue even before the Kyoto Protocol made greenhouse gases a matter of international policy, the show’s creators and advisers wanted their story to be one of the power of people, not politics.
“Politics are covered, but the path into the story is through people that are experiencing this, how they’re understanding their experience and the questions they’re asking,” said Daniel Abbasi, senior adviser in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Policy during the Clinton/Gore administration. “We’ve been very determined to be very respectful of all points of view. This is not just a show for people who are convinced that climate change is real. I’m convinced it’s real, human‑caused, and that we need urgent action. But we wanted to galvanize a conversation in America, and that means getting everybody into it.”
To foster that conversation, Cameron and Weintraub gathered a team of correspondents made up of activist actors and seasoned journalists, including Jessica Alba, Harrison Ford, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Chris Hayes, Lesley Stahl and Schwarzenegger himself, who embeds with a team of Montana firefighters.
“I’ve always felt that there was a communications gap between the subject of global warming and bringing ordinary people in and making them part of the movement,” Schwarzenegger said of his commitment to Years. “It starts on a grass-roots level. … I think the environmental movement only can be successful if we are simple and clear and make it a human story.”
Years of Living Dangerously airs Sundays at 10/9CT beginning April 13 on Showtime.