CBS News is sending correspondents to far corners of the earth for an all-day “Earth Matters” reporting effort to kick off Monday on “CBS This Morning.”
To coincide with Earth Day, five correspondents will be spread among five continents to offer in-depth reports on environmental issues and the politics in the U.S. surrounding the response to climate change and related issues.
Vladimir Duthiers will report live for “CBS This Morning” from the Amazon on the impact of deforestation in South America. Mark Phillips will report on how major cities are trying to curb CO2 emissions. Michelle Miller will look at the receding waters of the Rio Grande river. Elizabeth Palmer will report from Dehli, India on the toll that air pollution is taking on the city’s 20 million residents. Debora Patta examines renewable energy development efforts in South Africa.
Duthiers, who is a CBSN anchor, said there was no substitute for seeing the environmental impact of deforestation first-hand to in order to relay the human side of the story of climate change.
“We’re at a tipping point,” Duthiers told Variety in an interview via satellite phone as he trekked through the Amazon in Brazil on Thursday. “The rainforest is all about sunlight, water and atmosphere. If those things aren’t in perfect equilibrium, we’re talking about a catastrophe.”
Duthiers credited newly appointed CBS News president Susan Zirinsky and “CBS This Morning” exec producer Diana Miller for investing in the ambitious effort to gather reporting from around the world. The mainstream news media has faced recent calls for more urgent coverage on climate change and what’s at stake for everyday Americans.
“She is encouraging to us to get out and report these big complicated stories,” Duthiers said of Zirinsky. Beyond the “Earth Matters” segments, the Amazon trip will yield other material for CBSN. “I think reporting like this positions us well to compete on a global scale,” Duthiers said.
CBS News marked the first Earth Day observation in 1970 as the environmental and conservation movements emerged with a special report anchored by Walter Cronkite. For a kid who grew up admiring Cronkite and watching “CBS Evening News,” it’s been deeply meaningful to Duthiers to be able to play a major role in the “Earth Matters” series. “It’s an incredible honor to be part of that legacy,” he said.
(Pictured: CBS News’ Vladimir Duthiers on assignment in the Amazon)