Now that I have become a
serious journalist snarky blogger, I am the target of publicists.
A “Social Networking Manager” helping out CNN sent me to this 24-minute clip of the forthcoming two-part environmental documentary, Planet in Peril by Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Animal Planet’s Jeff Corwin.
Two things struck me — first, not much bloody stuff about climate change in that long clip. And in fact a visit to CNN’s web site reveals the show “looks at four key issues: climate change, vanishing habitats, disappearing species and human population growth.” So if you are just a climate change junkie — and if you aren’t, what in God’s name are you doing here? — you might find parts of the show less than interesting. As a general-interest environmental documentary, the high-def show is, however, visually-compelling.
Second, the planet isn’t in peril. The planet is doing just fine — at least until the next big asteroid hits us. What’s in peril — danger; a possibility of incurring loss or misfortune — is lots and lots of species that depend on the climate, including us.
I’m sure the CNN show is fine, but “planet in peril” is, for me, the wrong message. Leaving people with the impression that it is the earth and “nature” that are in peril is not productive. What should (hopefully) motivate the kind of serious, multi-decade action by humans needed to avoid catastrophic climate change is the threat to humans, and possibly the threat of mass extinction.