Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Planet in Peril...
BEIJING, China -- If you've been wondering why we're going to such great lengths -- and distances -- to tell the stories of threats to our planet and its inhabitants, now we can finally tell you.

We're working not just on dispatches for the daily "360" broadcast, but also on a four-hour documentary titled "Planet in Peril." It will air on CNN October 23rd and 24th. The documentary will investigate deeply some of the themes we've explored on "360" in recent months -- species loss, overpopulation, deforestation and climate change. We've also launched a companion Web site: Planet in Peril.

We'll take you around the globe and show you how all of these threats aren't just future predictions but instead are happening right before our eyes. Through reports from Anderson, wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, you'll meet the people working to address these issues; you'll also see a shadowy world of wildlife trading where billions of dollars, and lives, are at stake. We think it's a story you should know.

Beijing and rural China are our latest stops for "Planet in Peril." We've just arrived and through Sanjay's reporting we'll examine how China's explosive economic and industrial growth is affecting not only its natural resources, but the people around the globe who depend on it. You likely already know China is the world's most populous nation, but here are some things that might surprise you:

  • China consumes more steel, meat and grain than any other country on earth;
  • In 2000, China had around 4 million cars; in 2005 that grew to 19 million.;
  • Every week or so another new coal-fired energy plant comes online in China;
  • According to World Bank, 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China;
  • China is now the number one emitter of greenhouses gases, according to research from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency;
  • At least one quarter of the Chinese population lacks access to clean drinking water.

China, for its part, recognizes it has a problem, but it is caught between cleaning up its environment and continuing it's breathtaking growth. China comes under constant criticism for rejecting mandatory curbs on its carbon emissions, but it points out that the United States refuses to accept curbs as well. It also makes the following point:

"What many Western consumers wear, live in, even eat is made it China," government spokesman Qin Gang recently said. "On the one hand you want to increase this production in China. On the other hand, you want to condemn China over the issue of emissions reductions."

You can see that like many of the stories we've been covering, there aren't any easy answers. While governments continue their back-and-forth, we're going to try and dig into how average people's lives, and with Sanjay's expertise, their health is affected. We hope you'll enjoy the reports.

-- By Charlie Moore, "360" Senior Producer

Posted By CNN: 10:33 AM ET
I'm very eager to see this special documentary! Anderson, Dr. Gupta, and Jeff Corwin, as well as the 360 staff and CNN in general, should be commended for their work on the Planet in Peril series! It is eye opening and thought provoking and a subject that deserves much attention because it not only is important to us but the future generations as well. So I extent my thanks to everyone involved in this series!
Posted By Jessica, Bourbonnais Illinois : 11:26 AM ET
Last time you were in Asia, I believe you touched on the abomidable practice in China of cutting shark fins off and releasing the injured shark into the water to die. Please give some airtime to this in your new report.
Posted By DH -Lake Barrington, IL : 11:30 AM ET
Hi Charlie. I'm glad you guys can finally talk about this. To the regular viewer it's been pretty obvious you were saving some footage for something in the future. The website looks great and I look forward to the documentary.
Posted By Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 11:57 AM ET
China does have a point. Why should they clean up their carbon emissions when the United States refuses to do the same?

Under the Bush administration which has placed corporate profit ahead of environmental protection, the United States has lost the moral authority to encourage other nations to clean up the environment.

It is imperative that all nations, including the United States and China, place environmental protection at the top of their priority list.
Posted By Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 12:04 PM ET
Yeah...I've already seen the Planet in Peril web-site! It was beautifully done!

I can't wait to see the documentary and what you'll have in store for us. It was obvious that you'll left alot out and I know you'll aren't that careless! I just hope that it tells the whole story and even both sides of the story! Even if it looks bad on the U.S.! Play no favorites here, OK? Tell it straight!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 12:17 PM ET
Hi Charlie,
It's been a very interesting series so far. When I watch a news program, I always like to hear and learn something new that teaches and enlightens me.
Planet in Peril has been all that.
The bugs, wayward elephant and god awful crawly things included. Good job.
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 12:29 PM ET

Having some trouble posting here. Again, I was wondering when 360 would get to China. My husband frequently goes to China on business and my daughter has lived there for 3 years. I will be glued to the TV set tonight. I hope 360 will visit the magnificent national parks in China which I hear are quite beautiful. Like us, the Chinese are attempting to protect their natural heritage.
Posted By Charlotte D, Stockton Ca : 12:52 PM ET
I was glad you all are heading to China for PIP. It is a wonderful opportunity to see the country first hand and get a western TV approach to China.

Just wondering, is the Chinese government giving you all total access to report all things seen in communist China?

If you have ever watched CCTV (the English version of Chinese News), it only takes about 10 minutes to realize press in China is not free. CCTV is bound by the government to tell viewers just about the wonderful China. There is never one thing negative said about the government.

(ie: No Drew Griffin reporting live from China about toxic wastes. No Anderson Cooper questioning any of the leader's decisions.)

Finally, will PIP have a rating? I don't know, are TV documentaries rated?

You can imagine my 6:30 AM shock when I started the PIP recording in the family room and then went to the other side of the house.

About 5 minutes later, son comes over and says, "Mommy, I turned off the recorder. Now can you tell me, are all the people that live in the rainforest naked on top only or all over naked?"

Thanks Mr. CNN Cameraman. I have got to love you for the 6:40 AM to 7:00 AM anatomy and culture class. LOL!

There was lady without a top on behind Anderson during the rainforest PIP segment. I never noticed it myself but leave it to a little curious boy to see it.

Just a little reminder if CNN plans to broadcast PIP on a school network. Many of Jeff Corwin's fans are young children who love an adventure. It is our young people who can begin to change our world.

I wish you all a safe and pleasant journey in China.
Posted By Renee Bradenton, FL : 1:22 PM ET

It all starts with education.

Thank you to everyone at AC360. You inspire change.

-Lily, Vancouver BC
Posted By Anonymous : 1:41 PM ET
I too look forward to the documentary. China really frightens me. They now have all of the modern trappings of a first world country, but still have the mindset and customs of a third world country.

While the USA is far from perfect, I do feel we are more responsible than China.

One can only hope that China's "modernization" will create a strong, educated, middle class, that will lead to enlightenment regarding conservation, humane treatment and management of wildlife, and sensible natural resource management.
Posted By P. Anderson, Seattle, WA : 1:51 PM ET
The true environmentalists have always known the planet was in peril and worked to save it. I'm glad to see we've finally become "PC" and the mainstream media is onboard. I've enjoyed the series segments every time I've watched them.

What I do find extremely interesting is that 360 is dedicated to saving NOLA and yet coastal issues aren't even a blip on the Planet in Peril's world map. Maybe you could do a Part Two, America in Peril series and look at the issues of coastal destruction and how it impacts America (oil and gas industry, seafood industry, swamp ecology, and inland protection from storms). Coastal issues still aren't a huge priority at the federal and state level (some strides are being made, but it can never be enough). A little or lot of media pressure wouldn't hurt the cause to save what's ours. And honestly, it would help Louisiana in the long run more than breathing down Ray Nagin's neck (which I do appreciate, but while you're helping out...)

As for China, here's a novel thought. Produce and manufacture in America, buy organic and American made goods, worry less about mega profits and more about the citizens of this country, and maybe we wouldn't fear poisoning our pets and ourselves. Just imagine if it wasn't always about the money, maybe we wouldn't be so in peril.
Posted By Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 1:59 PM ET
~Wow!!~ This blog has come back to life!! Hurraayy!! :-) (Seems like it *died* for a while, while the "V-mail baloney-trend" started to take things over!!
Posted By Mark, Sacramento, CA : 2:04 PM ET
Dear Charlie,

Your "Planet in Peril" website is beautifully done, my compliments to the designer!

I have been very pleased with the series so far and I look forward to future reports. I am quite anxious to see the special in October. I am certain that PIP has done much to educate your viewers.

Since China has been the subject of much controversy lately, I wonder how much cooperation, or lack of, you are, or will be experiencing regarding your reports from there.

As a supporter of animal rights, I was glad to hear you say that you will be investigating wildlife trading in China. As you probably know, many threatened and endangered species are killed and used for ingredients in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), which has gained popularity over the last two decades.

China has also been known to use dog and cat fur in products destined for the United States and Europe. I hope you will give us an update on this horrible practice. The Chinese government denies that this is happening. The U.S., Australia, Denmark, France, Italy, Belgium, and Greece have banned it, however, there still isn't a full EU ban on these products. Even though the ban exists in the U.S. some of these products are still getting through.

The government and citizens of the United States are partly responsible for the "breathtaking" growth in China. Unless we change our policies towards this country the trade deficit will continue to rise and these problems will go on indefinitely.

Thanks for being courageous enough to spend the time and energy to bring us this wonderful series; it is greatly appreciated!

Take care,
Jo Ann
Posted By Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 2:28 PM ET
Chinese, like Americans, are greedy and money-hungry. I was fascinated by the blog here last week re: the Chinese guy making the pork buns (baozi, or "bao" as they are called here in US) out of CARDBOARD!! Yikes! And then selling them to his fellow citizens--terrible!! But greed knows boundaries in the human world...
Posted By Tasha, Atlanta, GA : 3:44 PM ET
Don't count on the Chinese people organizing via the Internet to clean up their environment. Internet censorship is alive and well in China. Interactive has a great piece on this topic and states that keyword censorship is used to block Internet access to topics the government does not want people to learn about. According to CNN, those keywords include

Falun Gong
Human rights

Can CNN find out if "pollution" and "environment" are also keywords that will trigger Internet censorship?

I just love the Planet in Peril series and am looking forward to seeing the entire program in October.
Posted By Barbara, Culver City, CA : 3:44 PM ET
HUMAN BEINGS are the cause of all the world's problems. The problem is all our economic models and economies are all predicated on the "G-word": GROWTH.

Overpopulation. Poverty. Crime. Violence. Human beings...

As my world/community around me becomes more and more crowded with thoughtless, selfish, consuming, greedy, ignorant, half-educated, half-literate NUMBOTRONS, "Potatoe-People", OBESITY-ites, phatties, *Fat Bastards* (Sacramento News & Review, Thursday, July 12, 2007), non-English speakers/non-Assimilites, Gangsta Rappers, and fools, I found myself becoming more and more misanthropic (hateful of mankind). I am just glad that I will die before it all self-destructs (it's already well on the way--just open your eyes and look around you!).

The descent into oblivion and "3rd-world chaos" is well underway in the USA. Good luck to us all.
Posted By Cheryl, Sacramento, CA : 3:50 PM ET
I can't wait to see this special, I've been begging to see more of what you guys have been doing on your trips than a 15 minute segment or so and now I will get it.

Be careful and thanks for bringing the world to my living room when I can't really go see the world on my own.

Setting the Tivo now.
Posted By Marcy B, Mobile, Alabama : 4:30 PM ET
First, the "Planet in Peril" website is extraordinary.

Second, China has been inundated with American money for quite some time. If the western capitalists smell profit, they will seize it and milk it for what is worth whether it is good for the environment, their culture, or even own country.

The People Republic of China is in its industrial infancy. It will go through many issues like the United States did during our industrial revolution: worker safety, a living wage, pollution standards, health care, child labor laws, unions, etc. It is already seeing droves of individuals coming from the farms to find work in the cities or industrial towns. Sound familiar?

But I also remember the failure of the dissolved USSR trying to enter the capitalist market. It hasn't worked well and is corrupt with mafia-like cartels. But then again, China is not Russia. But in the end, communism and capitalism will "butt" heads and it will lead to a bloody dogfight. This, of course, is about the mighty dollar, yen or Deutsch mark.

Stay safe in China.
Posted By Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 5:00 PM ET
AC360 and crew,

The website is incredibly well done! Really neat! I've been so engrossed by this series and a few short snippets here and there made October seem like a long way off.

Of course the wildlife is one of my loves so there is never enough footage for me. I particularly like the wolves,but the cat marking his territory and the elephant trying to play smacky mouth with Anderson pretty much made my week!
Umm, what is that fragrance Anderson?

Posted By Maggie, Grain Valley, MO : 5:12 PM ET
Hi Charlie/AC360 Staff,

First of all, compliments on the Planet in Peril website. It's well done. Secondly, I'm glad we're finally going to have a chance to see more of the areas that Anderson and company have been visiting. The snippets shown on the program are great(and, in some cases, quite memorable)but I always want to know more about the areas. We often hear about problems in other far off parts of the world but it has a greater impact if we can see what is happening (eg-rainforests being burned away. Keep up the good work on the series. By the way, I hope Jeff Corwin has had no long term effects after his encounter with the elephant.
Posted By Heather Edmonton, AB; Canada : 5:37 PM ET
Hi Charlie,

Thanks for the update. What an extraordinary website - you guys can be proud.

I would like to know if CNN will make available DVD copies of this wonderful series? I surely hope that you will - what we have seen so far is worthy of keeping; I feel certain that the entire four hours will be as well.

Bless you guys for taking this on. I cannot tell you how happy I am to share in this amazing adventure. As Anderson always says, he wants to bring the viewers along and that is exactly what y'all accomplish. So cool!

Please take care and safe travels to you.
Posted By Pati McMillan, Camp Hill, PA : 5:52 PM ET
that is a going to be very interesting and very important!
I'm also excited about the long documentary, and the web site is awesome!
Kudos many times over, CNN!!!
Posted By Minou, New York,NY : 6:46 PM ET

Finally a combined program that is not small segments of information , this is an enormous and very important endeavor that CNN and all of it's contributors have worked so hard on , having experts such as Jeff Corwin make this much needed attention to our planet and animal species that are in trouble, a valuable source of information, and ,as always it's nice to see intrepid Anderson come to the aid of Jeff when an elephant decides to have some fun"

Posted By Maritza San Jose , Ca : 7:13 PM ET

Finally a combined program that is not small segments of information , this is an enormous and very important endeavor that CNN and all of it's contributors have worked so hard on , having experts such as Jeff Corwin make this much needed attention to our planet and animal species that are in trouble, a valuable source of information, and ,as always it's nice to see intrepid Anderson come to the aid of Jeff when an elephant decides to have some fun"

Posted By Maritza San Jose , Ca : 7:14 PM ET
Hi Charlie, thanks for blogging. It's the abuse of human beings, not human beings per se, that are the reason why our planet is in peril. We produce goods and services that make our lives more comfortable, and when we have a taste of the comforts in life, we always want more. We get too greedy and this is when we get in trouble. I think the key is to keep producing goods and services (we all need them) and at the same time, be environmentally conscious, being mindful that we share this planet to all living things, and that it is our responsibility to keep its sustainability for generations to come. It's funny that you blogged about this; I'm actually on my way to a lecture in Town Hall by Alan Weisman. The lecture is called "The World Without Us." Mr. Weisman wrote "The World Without Us", a Discover Magazine piece selected for The Best American Science Writing 2006. It is a thought experiment that explores how the rest of nature would respond if it were suddenly relieved of the relentless pressures heaped on it by humans. He has drawn on the expertise of scientists, engineers, miners, oil drillers, etc. I'm excited to hear his talk!


Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Lilibeth, Edmonds, WA : 7:20 PM ET
Hey Charlie,
How can we expect that a government that has trouble respecting human rights will respect the environment???
How they treat the baby girls is disgusting,there are those issues with tinted food,they buy around 65% to 80% of the petrol of Sudan(wich buy arms with that money and it doesn't seem to bother China) just to name a few.
The fact that the U.S. doesn't want to have a mandatory curbs or that other countries(like mine,well Harper and the big businesses)don't want to respect the Kyoto accord shouldn't be used as a barganing chip for China. Each country should put the civilians before money and greed.Yeah,dream on!
And we have a choice as a consummer to buy or not "made in China".If we are able to,we can buy local.
As for the series,I look forward to it. I knew you guys weren't travelling so far for just a few minutes of film. I was expecting a one hour special,great that it will be 4 hours. The website is beautiful and educational.
EDUCATION is the key word here. We can't wait for our governments to make decisions regarding our future. We have to make a move,do some changes,educate ourselves and our children on the question of environment and put pressure on our elected. They are working for us after all,and using our money!
We have a say in it.I'm not a dreamer,just a big believer in the power of people joining forces.

Joanne R.
Laval Quebec
Posted By Joanne R.Laval Quebec : 7:31 PM ET
Excellent website! I absolutely cannot wait for the October special and hope that people will watch and really understand what is going on out there.

Thank you for building up to all of this and I hope this will aid in the advancement of environmental education to those who are in denial or don't even know.
Posted By Aruna, Minneapolis, MN : 8:27 PM ET
China and the US need to both set some standards and laws about allowable levels of emissions and enforce them. IF both don't do it and only the US does, then US companies that cannot meet the standards set here will move their industry to China where it won't matter and where they will more than likely produce more emissions rather than less; not quite the effect we need but one the love affair with the almighty dollar will produce.

It is good to see you going to China. I hope while you are there you cover the melting of the inland glaciers there and the effect it has on the Yellow and Yangtze river - both of which are in bad shape either through drought or pollution.

One of the many tragedies of climate change is that the poor of all the world will suffer the worst; the Chinese are unfortunately already beginning to experience this.
Posted By Annie Kate, Birmingham AL : 2:16 AM ET
Very intriguing documentary idea. It's a definite neccessity too. People need to know how the world is taking a drastic turn in terms of environment.
Posted By Hannah Faith M. : 10:39 AM ET
It would be nice to hear what changes Anderson, Jeff, Sanjay and yourself have made in your daily lives to help save the planet from further peril.

Many famous spokespeople have been outspoken about going green but how many are actually practicing what they preach?
Posted By Jack Huntingdon Valley PA : 4:01 PM ET
I knew you were up to something, just teasing us with bits and pieces! I can't wait to see the whole series. We each need to find ways to help save our world. I hope you are able to educate and motivate millions with your documentary! A huge thanks to all of you for your commitment and hard work. I love the new web site, also. I will have to spend more time on it.
Posted By Kathy Chicago,Il : 5:20 PM ET
No one is probably reading this old thread, but Sacramento Cheryl 's post made me tear up. I , too get discouraged by thoughtless, lazy people, and the excessive consumption Americans love.

It's frustrating that we keep plowing over fields to put up yet another shopping mall. As Dr. Gupta found out, China is only getting started on this road to over-development and runaway consumerism.

Like a lot of people, I'd love to change the world. But then I think, there's only one person I can change. We can't be tempted to look to the federal government to control others' behavior, to make new laws for everything. We have to trust in individuals, otherwise we become a socialist or communist society.
Posted By xtina - chicago IL : 2:47 PM ET
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