In honor of Earth Day on April 22, eco-themed programming will saturate the next week or so of programming. Here's a rundown of the highlights.

“Years of Living Dangerously,” Showtime’s nine-part series about the global impact and implications of climate change, employs A-list celebrity correspondents to bring attention to stories about deforestation, wildfires, heat waves, melting ice caps and droughts. “The idea wasn’t to find the most famous person,” says executive producer Daniel Abbasi. “It’s great when they’re a big household name with a big following like Matt Damon or Harrison Ford, but even better when they care about the issue,” The April 21 episode features Ford investigating illegal burning of rain forests in Indonesia and Arnold Schwarzenegger embedding with a team of wildfire fighters.

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Disneynature’s annual Earth Day documentary tradition continues with “Bears,” which follows a female brown bear and her two cubs in their first year of life. Breathtaking Alaskan scenery and intimate close-up photography make this movie worthwhile for the wildlife lover, even though the narration tends to anthropomorphize too much. Disneynature will donate a dollar from every ticket sold during the opening week to the National Park Foundation. A percentage of sales of certain “Bears”-related merchandise at Disney parks and Disneystore retail and online will also benefit the NPF.

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If every household in the United States turned off two light bulbs for one hour every day, it would save more than 5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year. So this Earth Week, NBCUniversal’s Green Is Universal initiative focuses on energy usage, encouraging viewers to reduce their carbon footprints by turning off the lights while watching their TV, computer, tablet or smartphone screens. Entitled “Lights Off. Screens On,” the campaign will be promoted across the company’s properties, and from April 21-28, visitors to the campaign's website can pledge to turn off their lights and enter a contest to win an energy-efficient television and other prizes.

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On air, “The Today Show” and “Access Hollywood” will present eco-themed segments throughout the week, “American Dream Builders” will showcase green renovations, and NBC News will rerun Ann Curry’s documentary “Our Year of Extremes — Did Climate Change Just Hit Home?” New “The More You Know” public service announcements featuring such stars as Alison Sweeney, Ken Jeong (in video above), Kelli Giddish, Retta, Erika Christensen, and Jim Cramer will feature tips on recycling electronics, eating locally, and conserving energy, water, and electricity.

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A hippopotamus in GabonNot only is Gabon home to some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife, its coast is threatened by illegal trawling and will need protection to preserve it. National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay and Enric Sala explore this fragile ecosystem in the special “Africa’s Wild Coast,” premiering on Nat Geo Wild on April 22.

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The history of the environmental movement and the people that made it possible are the subject of the documentary “A Fierce Green Fire,” premiering on PBS’ “American Masters” on April 22. Inspired by the book of the same name by Philip Shabecoff, Mark Kitchell’s film is a must-see, and not just for Earth Day. Read our interview with Kitchell here.

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Fox’s prime time lineup will include green themes in several of its programs, including an environment-focused episode of “Cosmos” and an ocean pollution-themed installment of “Bob’s Burgers” on April 20. On Earth Day, Fox will rerun a “New Girl” episode in which Jess (Zooey Deschanel) teaches her class about conservation by taking them to the beach. As part of its ongoing “Green It. Mean It” initiative, Fox put together a video for Earth Day (below) that highlights its efforts in its series to spread the word.

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Snow monkeys

Photo: Joseph Pontecorvo/Thirteen

Not all monkeys live in the tropical jungle. The titular subjects of the PBS “Nature” documentary “Snow Monkeys” inhabit the Japanese Alps, warming themselves in natural hot springs in winter. Premiering April 23 and narrated by Liam Neeson, the film takes a rare peek inside this matriarchal society of macaques.

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“Rebels With a Cause” chronicles the efforts of dedicated conservationists to protect Northern California seashore from commercial development. Many parks and farmlands exist there today thanks to “concerned citizens and grassroots activism." The documentary, narrated by Frances McDormand, will air on PBS stations in April. 

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PBS Kids's

Photo: Thirteen Productions LLC

It’s never too early to teach kids about conservation, and PBS, Nickelodeon and Sprout will air Earth Day programs aimed at young children and their parents. PBS Kids and Thirteen will air “The Cyberchase Movie,” an animated eco-themed adventure, on April 15, and Nickelodeon is launching a “Get Dirty” initiative via TV spots, a website and special episodes of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Team Umizoomi,” “Dora the Explorer” and “Bubble Guppies” on Earth Day. Nick Jr. will also run green-minded episodes of its programs throughout the day. Sprout’s “Sunny Side Up Show,” a live morning show for preschoolers, will promote a kid-friendly green contest throughout Earth Week. The second season if its animated series “Tree Fu Tom” will premiere on April 22.

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In honor of Earth Month, the Pivot network has teamed up with Shazam to offer eco-minded programming on climate change, water, energy, sustainable food and natural disasters, including the documentaries “Food Inc.,” “Last Call at the Oasis,” “Uranium Drive-In,” and “Plastic Paradise.” Visit Pivot.tv for schedules.

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FX will run a marathon of Earth-themed blockbuster films on April 19 and 20 including “Avatar,” “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” “Legion” and “Green Lantern.”

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ABC News Radio’s “Perspectives” is “Going Green” for Earth Day. Beginning with the April 18 edition, the program will include green tips from experts like “The Chew’s” Michael Symon (on gardening) and information on eco-friendly shopping, traveling and clothing. 

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