Some must-see TV tomorrow and Wednesday evening (9 p.m. EST) for readers committed to organic living: Planet in Peril, a four-hour CNN documentary that tackles threats to the world’s environment. Nearly a year in the making, it takes viewers to four continents and 13 countries where environmental change is not a theory or possibility, but a crisis happening in real time.  

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Animal Planet host and wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin will focus on four main issues that threaten the planet and its inhabitants: climate change, deforestation, species loss and overpopulation.  

“The environment is more than just a niche news story; it is an issue that affects every living being and warrants greater attention in the press,” Cooper says. “Our goal was to report not only on individual issues but to examine the interconnectivity of environmental changes. Instead of simply delving into academic theories, we set out to document the actual changes taking place that affect the way we live our lives and the choices we make.”  

Cooper and Corwin traveled to Brazil to examine connections between the rapid deforestation of the Amazon River Basin and changes in the world’s climate, embedding with “poacher police” amid raids of illegal logging camps. In Thailand and Cambodia, they walked the markets where endangered animals are bought and sold to find out how their removal can affect entire ecosystems. They also traveled to Greenland to report on its melting ice sheet, where Cooper witnessed one of the world’s newest islands, discovered when the ice receded.  

Corwin visited Alaska to help viewers understand how North America’s largest carnivore, the polar bear, is quickly losing its habitat and exists at the edge of extinction. Cooper and Corwin traveled to Yellowstone Park to see how park officials reintroduce species to their native environment.  

With his medical expertise, Gupta brings a deep understanding of the environmental pressures on the human population. In China, he examines how the world’s most populous nation consumes its natural resources and the toll it takes on its people and the entire world. He also reports from Central Africa to show how climate change is drying up one of the world’s largest lakes and the impact this is having on a region already in crisis.  

Photo courtesy of CNN Worldwide. All rights reserved, © 2007.