Beginning Sunday, October 30, climate change will take over primetime on National Geographic. The channel has announced it will host its first-ever Earth Week, which will air six straight days of primetime programming dedicated exclusively to climate change in 171 countries and 45 languages.
The week will kick off with back-to-back premieres: the second season of the Emmy Award-winning “Years of Living Dangerously” docu-series, and “Before the Flood,” the new documentary produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens and environmental activist, United Nations (U.N.) Messenger of Peace and Award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
“The timing of our Earth Week programming event is no coincidence – it is intended to bring climate change to the forefront of the conversation ahead of the U.S. elections,” National Geographic Global Networks CEO Courteney Monroe said in making the announcement at Climate Week NYC. “But for us, climate change transcends politics. It is beyond an American issue. It is a global, human issue that demands attention from leaders in the highest offices all across the world.”
She added that National Geographic believes it’s its duty to inform voters on these issues “and encourage people to vote in November like our lives depend on it – because when it comes to climate change, they actually do.”
“Years of Living Dangerously,” which features Hollywood correspondents tracking the effects of climate change on communities around the world, will air at 8 p.m. on the first night of Earth Week. In the second season’s first episode, “A Race Against Time,” David Letterman will travel to India to learn about how the country is going to expand its inadequate energy grid to meet the needs of its growing population. Celebrity correspondents have included Cecily Strong, Gisele Bundchen, Bradley Whitford, America Ferrera, Joshua Jackson and Ian Somerhalder.
“From executive producers James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the series this year once again features an A-list line up of celebrity correspondents as they explore a wide array of topics including carbon pricing, the California water crisis, the future of electric vehicles, species extinction, climate migrants, deforestation and super storms,” said National Geographic Channel President of Programming Tim Pastore.
The commercial-free television premiere of “Before the Flood” will air at 9 p.m. (with an encore at 10:30 p.m., and several other showings throughout the week).
“This incredibly engaging film follows Leo’s personal journey as he travels to five continents, as well as the Arctic, speaking to scientists, world leaders and local residents to gain a deeper understanding of this complex issue,” said Monroe.
“Climate change is the most critical and urgent problem facing our world today, and it must be a top issue for voters this Election Day,” DiCaprio said in a statement. “Fisher and I set out to make a film that not only educates people about the challenges we face if we fail to act, but one which also shows the solutions we can implement if we can find the political will to do so. We need leaders not only in the United States, but across the globe, who believe in the science of climate change and who have the courage to take a stand for our planet. Bringing this film to college campuses is a key component to engaging young voters to hold our leaders accountable.”
Another National Geographic documentary, “Extreme Weather,” opened in select theaters across North America on October 15. Narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Michael C. Hall, “Extreme Weather” explores how climate change is affecting lands, oceans and the atmosphere to create natural disasters in the United States, from wildfires in California, to tornadoes in the Midwest, and melting glaciers in Alaska.