In a world waking up to the importance of protecting the environment and the threat of global climate change, ABC News is marking Earth Day 2007 with a daylong look at the state of our planet.
We will report on the most crucial environmental issues of today and what solutions are currently being employed across the globe. From issues like water shortages, to species extinction, to alternate energy sources, this unprecedented global news event will feature ABC News anchors and correspondents reporting live from all seven continents throughout the day.
Elizabeth Vargas will report from a game preserve in Africa, Chris Cuomo will be in the heart of Paris, John Quinones will be in the Brazilian rain forest, Jay Schadler reports from an astonishing solar power array in Arizona, Cynthia McFadden will be live in China and Bill Weir will be above (and below) the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. We will also bring you a live shot from the South Pole.
ABC News has assembled seven leading experts on the environment -- from scientists to businessmen -- to tell us the most important problems, and the most promising solutions.
Pressing Planetary Problems
Witness for yourself how the Earth is changing, and what you can do to about it. The coverage will outline the most pressing environmental issues:
Water: Too much water (from melting glaciers and ice packs) may flood the coasts. Too little water in drought-stricken Australia and Africa is caused by the changes in weather and habitat.
Forests: Up to 20 percent of our greenhouse gas problem can be attributed to loss of forests and trees, often called "the lungs of the planet" by environmentalists. Trees take in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, and give off oxygen. But in countries with vast forest acreage, like Brazil, the forests are disappearing as people harvest the timber, plant crops and look for pasture land for animals.
Extinction: As habitats are destroyed, thousands of species may become extinct, from polar bears to vast numbers of fish species.
Power: As more and more people come onto the energy grid in emerging nations, and first world countries continue to gulp power at an alarming rate, power plants are a major source of dangerous greenhouse gases. These pressures all threaten the Earth and affect thousands of animal species, including our own.
Seven Continents, Seven Environmental Challenges
Each continent faces unique environmental challenges. In Africa, we chose an eco-lodge reserve near the Kruger wildlife area to show how conservation can save species.
Click here for photos from the Mala Mala camp, one of South Africa's oldest nature preserves.
In Australia, we go to the Great Barrier Reef to talk about how desalination plants may be the answer to water shortages.
In Europe, we look at Paris, the city of lights, to show how we can conserve power and to see ways that science could help take carbon dioxide out of the air.
From Antarctica, we'll report on progress on the ozone hole in the atmosphere.
Conservation groups in the rain forest near Manaus, Brazil, are working to replant the rain forest and show people how it can be worth more to them as a standing resource than as logs and soybean fields.
Click here for photos of a coming-of-age ritual in the indigenous village of Satare Maue in the heart of Brazil's Amazon rain forest.
North American alternative power solutions will help the energy grid -- we'll take you to a solar array in Arizona.
Click here for photos from the Saguaro Solar Power Plant in Red Rock, Arizona, the first plant of it's kind to be built in the United States in nearly 20 years.
And in Asia, we explore perhaps the most fundamental issue of all: Is the world willing to make the changes we'll need?
From alternative energy programs as small as a solar panel on a rooftop and as large as the biggest "wind farm" in America, to scientists with a prototype of a machine that could take damaging greenhouse gases right out of the air, you'll have a chance to look down from space and get an overview of what in the world we can do to improve the environment.
Do Your Part
We'll even look at what the average American uses up in their lifetime -- how many light bulbs and coffee cups do you think you'll use from the cradle to the grave? Newspapers? Hangers? We will fill a 900,000 cubic foot hangar with one person's lifetime quota of "stuff" -- and your jaw will drop.
The report will also focus on the smartest changes you can make in your own homes to help -- things you can do tomorrow to do your part. It's as easy as changing a light bulb, and as odd as changing your driving habits -- don't turn left. That's right, UPS has instructed its drivers to develop "right turn routes" to their destinations, since left turns involve idling engines as you wait to turn. Idling engines mean more gasoline used -- and more greenhouse gases up into the air.
The reports will span "Good Morning America" through "World News With Charles Gibson," an hour-long "20/20" anchored by Diane Sawyer, and "Nightline" -- and, of course, ABCNEWS.com and ABC News Now will be on all day with live reports. As the world goes green, ABC News goes global -- Earth Day 2007.