The Great Warming

Posted: 5 May 2004

The 1990's was the warmest decade in the last 1000 years. At the same time, the amount of carbon in Earth's atmosphere is higher than it has been in 420,000 years. And it is still climbing. Told through stories of real people around the world, The Great Warming not only explores the science, consequence and solutions of climate change, but also looks at exciting ideas and technologies that will create a truly sustainable future.

This three x 46-minute series is based on the book Storm Warning - Gambling with the Climate of our Planet, by Canadian science writer Lydia Dotto. Series creator, Karen Coshof of Stonehaven Productions in Montreal, optioned the book and, over about one year, adapted it for television.

Tornado, North America
Tornado, North America
There were 562 twisters (tornadoes) that touched down in North America's tornado valley in 2003.© Stonehaven Productions
From the beginning, the objective was to create a new kind of climate change series - one that would not rehash the tired debate about whether or not global warming is real. Instead, The Great Warming begins from an editorial premise that acknowledges the reality and the threat of global climate change.

Swiss Re, one of the world's largest reinsurers, became the first - and interestingly - only corporate sponsor of The Great Warming. The Government of Canada, along with the Canadian International Development Agency, were also enthusiastic sponsors of the production. With a major investment from Discovery Channel Canada, the Canadian Television Fund and two Canadian film tax credit agencies, the $3 million budget was achieved.

Narrated by Keanu Reeves and Alanis Morrisette, The Great Warming comprises three episodes:

  • The Human Fingerprint explores the underlying science and evidence of climate change. From North and South America to Asia and Europe, the series looks at the evidence to learn what today's rising temperatures mean for our own future.

  • The Age of Uncertainty looks at the legacy of climate change through the stories of real people already coping with its impact. It also explores the consequences of a "business as usual" scenario. Do we really need more proof?

  • Our Children's Planet sweeps around the world to introduce people and communities who are combating The Great Warming, with commitment, enthusiasm and exciting new technologies.
The series was shot over about a year, in locations around the word: from the high Canadian Arctic to the Altiplano of Peru to Inner Mongolia to Bangladesh, to downtown New York City.

Everywhere, evidence of global warming is evident - as is the increasing industrialisation which is creating more and more greenhouse gas emissions. Why shouldn't every Chinese family have a car?

But The Great Warming goes beyond other climate change documentaries to look at realistic solutions, technologies and actions which can help reduce the impact of climate change. From individual actions to a radical new invention for creating truly "green" hydrogen, these are the focus of episode three.

It is the producers' hope that many people will see this series - and be inspired to action. There ARE things every person can do to alleviate the effects of The Great Warming.

Television Air Times:For broadcast times on the Discovery Channel click on the link below:Schedule Times

To acquire The Great Warming on video or DVD: The series is also available for international distribution in English and French:

International broadcasters outside Canada and the United States: Please contact Tony Leadman, Head Worldwide Program Distribution, CTV TELEVISION T: 416.332.4410 - American broadcasters: Please contact Karen Coshof, President, STONEHAVEN CCS CANADA INC.T: 514.527.2131.ext 305 - k.coshof@stonehaven.ca Educators/libraries: Please contact George Christoff, President, FILMWEST ASSOCIATES T: 250.769.3399 - info@filmwest.com