So Don Cheadle visits the drought-stricken southern United States, Harrison Ford learns of Indonesian deforestation, Arnold Schwarzenegger accompanies a group of firefighters, Ian Somerhalder joins a group of civilians fighting the coal industry, Olivia Munn learns about ocean acidification, America Ferrera reports on lobbying against renewables, Jessica Alba shows the benefits of green energy, Michael C. Hall learns about Bangladesh's droughts and floods, and Matt Damon explores health emergencies caused for climate change.
For David Gelber, producer of the series, everything arose after working for 60 minutes - where he spent 25 years - two stories about climate change. At that point he realized that "he could spend the rest of the race telling stories about it." For him it was a way to dedicate his professional life to his daughters and fight for their future. Then he convinced James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger - among other producers - to join the project and Planet in Danger was born.
"We are in a race against time, the consequences of climate change are happening much faster than scientists projected years ago," said Gelber, explaining that this is why it was so important to raise awareness.
Together with the rest of the production team they spent a year and a half looking for good stories and "great protagonists" to build interesting programs with uncertain endings.
"The series tries to show that climate change is having its impact now, not in fifteen years. All the stories have a character that you will want to know, and the correspondents are Hollywood stars and journalists," Gelber explained.
The idea of the correspondents was to attract an audience to an important topic. "Actor Don Cheadle told me: I'm not an expert on this and I said: Great, we don't want you to be, we just want you to be an intelligent person who asks questions, just like a correspondent on a news channel would, "says the American producer.
Another important presence on the show is that of Barack Obama. The American president is interviewed by journalist Thomas Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner. Obama had hardly spoken about climate change in his campaign but in the interview he discussed it openly with the journalist.
Friedman also investigates how the droughts in Syria had a major impact on the development of the country's civil war.
But they are not all problems. The Planet in Danger team also wanted to show that there are solutions and more than anything in the second season —which is in the filming process— focuses on telling how there is still time to save the planet.
"I think we have a chance. I don't think we can undo climate change. It will probably get worse, but the question is how much it will get worse. If we act now there is still time to prevent the damage from being as bad as if we didn't. I think particularly in that governments must make those that emit greenhouse gases pay, "said the producer of the program.
The reception has been good. Planet in Peril won an Emmy Award for Best Documentary Series and has received rave reviews. Time magazine wrote: "It's a solid piece of journalistic work with short, rich and compelling stories." The Hollywood Reporter, on the other hand, described it as: "Powerful, irresistible and, frankly, terrifying." Planet in Danger premieres today at 10 p.m. on Nat Geo and will air every Tuesday at that time.