Ms. David was talking about her fears of global warming. Not exactly an aid to digestion, but talk of global warming is what she does, as the reigning media queen of the issue. She has chatted about weird weather on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," recently shepherded two TV projects on the issue onto Fox News and TBS, and is the executive producer of the global warming primer "Too Hot Not to Handle," to be broadcast on HBO today, Earth Day.
Tall, elegant and intense, Ms. David was also the guest editor of the May issue — "The Green Issue" — of Elle magazine. ("Clean up your act with eco-chic fashion, travel food.") And she is a producer of "An Inconvenient Truth," a documentary film based on former Vice President Al Gore's decades of research on global warming. The film had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January and will be in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on May 26. You might have caught Ms. David (who seems not at all like the TV wife of her husband, Larry David) on "The Bold and the Beautiful," a soap opera. In an episode in January she played herself, trying to talk a shipping magnate into making some changes in his business to cut back on global-warming pollution.
"Yes, that was the low point of my life," Ms. David said. "Not because of the soap opera, but because of my hideous acting. But guess what? I got to talk about global warming on the No. 1 soap opera in the country."
For the near future, at least, Ms. David has resolved to stay behind the camera, and her latest endeavor, "Too Hot Not to Handle," is a sober documentary, full of leading scientists and statistics explaining how global warming is already upon us. If it's scary, she said, then good.
Early in "Too Hot," Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton, intones, "We're headed toward a completely different world than the one we're used to."
The film provides "a non-wonky" explanation of what, exactly, global warming is, Ms. David said. When you add junk into the atmosphere, blocking some of the energy exchange between the Earth and space, it traps heat near the Earth's surface, a Stanford scientist explains.
Besides watching scenes of hurricanes, heat waves and parched fields, viewers learn that heat waves lasting four days or more have almost tripled in the last 50 years; that moderate rains have decreased while heavy rains have increased. According to the film a quarter of the plant and animal species could face extinction by the end of the century, because of global warming.
If that doesn't grab you, yet another "Too Hot" authority talks about the commonplace ways global warming will be felt: leaves will change color at odd times of the year, ski resorts won't get snow, spring geese will no longer come in the spring.
"And by the way, you know, global warming is good for one thing: bugs and pollen," Ms. David said, tucking into her salad.
"I do not want to be talking to the converted," she said of the film. "We want to talk to people who say: 'O.K., wait a second. What the heck is this and why should I care? And you know, hey, when my kids come home, we're going to all watch it tonight.' "
Her own family is, of course, environmentally correct. Mr. David drives a Toyota Prius, a so-called hybrid car (which runs on both a gas engine and an electric motor) on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," the HBO show in which he plays a curmudgeonly comedian with a tolerant wife. The real-life Davids both drive a Prius, too, and live in Los Angeles with their 10- and 12-year-old daughters. She's a model-thin, sparkly 48-year-old, and Mr. David is 10 years older.
The Davids are well aware that in some quarters Ms. David is caricatured as a celebrity do-gooder. She was infamously labeled a "Gulfstream liberal" in a 2004 article in The Atlantic magazine that noted that she chartered private planes even as she pressed for improved fuel-economy standards. An article in The Hollywood Reporter this week said that Ms. David has become "a symbol to some of showbiz grandstanding at its most self-righteous."
Ms. David said she only occasionally uses a private plane and the majority of her air travel is commercial. "This comes from people trying to marginalize celebrity, trying to marginalize Hollywood," she said of the criticism. "It comes from people not wanting you to be effective. Celebrities who lend their names to causes to raise lot of money for important issues should be admired and not marginalized and made fun of."
She grew passionate about global warming, she explained, when her first daughter was a baby. She felt lost and isolated after leaving a hot career of managing comedians, and when she met some big brains with the Natural Resources Defense Council, she recognized her calling. She now sits on the board of the council, which is dedicated to protecting the public health and the environment.
Frances Beinecke, the council president, gives Ms. David credit for changing the public perception of environmentalists as somewhat overwrought tree huggers and for playing an enormous role in moving the global warming conversation "off of the science page and squarely into the middle of American popular culture."
For instance, Elle magazine, which reaches a huge audience of avid consumers of the fashionable and the trendy, is "green" for May. Roberta Myers, Elle's editor in chief, approached her about being a guest editor, Ms. David said. Vanity Fair also has a "green issue" for May, Ms. David noted.
"This is her great passion, she knows a lot about the environment, she's the fulcrum for a lot of activity," Ms. Myers said of Ms. David. "It was just important to us that we get her voice."
Ms. David started her professional life as a talent coordinator for the David Letterman show (which is how she met Larry David) and now juggles her roles as wife, mother and activist from a home office. She travels extensively but generally limits her time away to three days. At 6 p.m., without fail, the whole family eats dinner together.
"I have taken advantage of my husband, to the extent that I even got HBO to do a documentary with me," she said. "He won't even promote his own show, and I'm like, 'Honey, "Nightline's" coming tomorrow, and you have to talk to them for a couple of minutes.' He went on Oprah with me, which I begged him to do. He's shy."
But you don't have to be famous to help, Ms. David said. Her easy to-do list of suggestions includes buying recycled paper products, unplugging appliances not in use and joining a virtual march on Washington against global warming at www.stopglobalwarming.org.
"I'm completely and totally optimistic," Ms. David said of the green movement, betting that she will win new converts when "Too Hot" is broadcast.
Ms. David called global warming a disaster that must be halted before the crash is too intense. "It's better to be in a car accident at 5 miles per hour," she said, "than one at 60 miles per hour."