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Watch Episode 1 of James Cameron's "Years of Living Dangerously"

Posted on 7 April 2014 by greenman3610

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.  The first episode is free online and can be watched 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.

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Comments 1 to 11:

  1. I viewed this as soon as I saw a link to do so: it's *great* to see this level of attention paid to this critical and very real issue. Along with this, and NBC's program of last night, I expect a howl of protest from the denialati, which I will listen to with great relish. The louder the scientific community makes them howl, the loonier they will appear, and the sooner we can get down to the brass tacks of doing what we *all* need to do, to mitigate the oncoming damage.

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  2. I watched it just this morning. All I can say is: Fantastic!!

    I'm just floored by the important work that Katherine Hayhoe is doing. She's just amazing.

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  3. Another prominent U.S. female climate scientist is Heidi Cullen, who together with Joe Romm functioned as the science advisors to the production of Showtime's ‘Years of Living Dangerously’

    Climate Central has posted a video of Cullen's appearnce on yesterday's NBC News Sunday show, Face the Nation. The post is Heidi Cullen Talks IPCC on Face the Nation. Cullen also discusses her role on the Showtime series.

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  4. Another good series is The Tipping Points,

    currently showing on TVOntario

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  5. The Tipping Points series cited by Jim Eager premiered on the U.S. Weather Channel in October of last year. An informative article about the series, Weather Channel series takes journey to Earth's tipping points, was posted on the Mother Nature Network website on Oct 10, 2013.  

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  6. Note that the project comes with an educator resource linked through the main page, It is sparsely populated yet, but since movies generally make a good entry point for discussion, reinforcement, and motivation, it may become a useful resource, including for house (watching) parties.

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  7. Thanks for posting this.  I hope the video get's around.

    FWIW: "Years of Living Dangerously - facing what's happening"

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  8. Having watched this episode, I have to single out one inaccuracy/exaggeration: Ford's reporting on Indonesia's forests cleared for oil palms. The report states that once the trees are removed/burned, the carbon sequestered in them espaces to the atmosphere and is "lost forever".

    That's incorrect. There might be other environmental issues with clearing the forests and the local environmental loss may be big. But in terms of global CO2 balance, the indonesian forest removal will be balanced by increased carbon intake by the biosphere. Further, even the restoration of said forests, although hard, is possible in a timeframe of few 10s to 100 years which is much less than "forever". And certainly, those who believe we can mitigate by drawing down CO2, point to planting forests and harvesting their wood then preserving it in form of furniture as the realistic way to achieve it.

    By contrast, the main source of emmisions - fossils fuels dug from thte ground - contains  carbon 100s My old - and that's indeed "forever". And there are no knwon methods of reduce its most oxydised form (CO2) all the way back to the form it came from (FF), nor any method to put it back to the ground.

    So the FF emmsions are litteraly milion times more serious than land clearing. I claim that undoing the damage of FF (properly, without side effects like ocean acidification) is also about the same million times harder than undoing land clearing.

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  9. chriskoz:

    Does your estimate of the length of time it would take to restore a rainforest in Indonesia take into account the full restoration of the peat foundation of the forest?

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  10. John Hartz@9,

    Thanks for pointing that. Indeed, I ignorantly assumed that the indonesian rainforest formation time is comparable to that of an average boreal forrest. But as I'm learning from this link:

    The lowland peat swamps of Borneo are mostly geologically recent (<5000 years old), low lying coastal formations above marine muds and sands [10][11] but some of the lakeside peat forests of Kalimantan are up to 11,000 years old.

    it is clearly not. Removal of peat swamps is not the ordinary forest removal. If most of the emmisions come from 20 m deep peat, then based on the above numbers, I have to increase my original restoration estimate at least 10 times to some 1Ky or even 100times to few Ky. That's still far shorter than FF restoration but it may change the conclusion of my original post, depending on the definition of "forever". That timespan can be called "essentially forever", on the human life timescale,

    As a sidenote, I've learned from the link above, that the peat fires in 1997, could have been largely responsible for a huge spike of emmision rates in 1998, as seen on this NOAA picture, so their contribution of peat destruction is by no means negligible.

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  11. My response to John Hartz@3 was deleted (i presume by accident - together with some unrelated driveby trolls - because it is on topic andinformative), so I'm reposting it:

    Not just Heidi Cullen needs to be singled out here. I'm really excited to see someone like Tom Friedman involved in the production and speaking on Face the Nation. Tom's book "Hot Flat & Crowded" is simply a phenomenal peice of journalism about global warming & surrounding politics & FF industry. A must read, that I've already resommended elsewhere. If this series' narrative is similar to the Tom's book, then even though I haven't seen it yet, I can only concur with previous commenters: watch it!

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