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Showtime Breaks Ground With First-Ever Climate Change Series

Climate

By Joe Romm

This April, Showtime will start airing its groundbreaking TV series on the experiences and personal stories of people whose lives have been touched by climate changeYears Of Living Dangerously is an eight-part series produced by the legendary storytellers and film-makers James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Weintraub—together with three former 60 Minutes producers who have 18 Emmys between them.

While reviewing the segments for technical accuracy as chief science editor, I’ve been blown away by just how visually and narratively compelling the show is. It is not just going to be a landmark climate change series, it is going to be a landmark television series, like Ken Burns’ The Civil War.

Much as the best, most innovative long-form drama has moved from film to TV, in shows like the Game of ThronesThe SopranosMad MenHomeland and Breaking Bad, so too with documentaries. Here is the trailer:

 

You are going to want to subscribe to Showtime for this one, as I’m confident it’s what everyone is going to be talking about from April to June.

Nothing like this eight-part series has ever been put on TV before, a collaboration between the amazing storytellers mentioned above and top-flight journalists (like Chris Hayes, Lesley Stahl, and Tom Friedman) and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars (like Matt Damon, Ian Somerholder, Don Cheadle, Olivia Munn and Harrison Ford). They provide gripping reports of people affected by and seeking solutions to climate change.

As readers know, climate change is happening right here, right now—in the U.S. and around the world. It is the biggest story of our time, and it needs a big platform to tell it.

In a front-page New York Times story Sunday on why so many of the best TV shows seem to get aired on that evening, David Nevins, Showtime’s president of entertainment—the architect of hits like Homeland and Masters of Sex—explains that he puts a show on Sunday night “because I want to signal to the audience: This show matters. This is a big show.

“It deserves the big platform,” Nevins told the newspaper. “You’re not sending quite the same signal if you put it on Friday or Monday or Tuesday.”

Years Of Living Dangerously is going to be a very big show.

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE  page for more related news on this topic.

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

Michael Schade / Twitter

At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.

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