Sunday, December 14, 2008

Anderson Cooper and David Letterman: Just How Screwed is Planet Earth?

I saw the Anderson Cooper interview with David Letterman on December 8, and it's been running through my mind frequently. Not Cooper's little story about swimming with Michael Phelps, although that was cute, neither his story about his mother sending him a Thanksgiving turkey via chauffeur, and that was also cute, but the talk Dave and Anderson had about the state of the planet as they promoted Cooper's CNN special Planet in Peril.

Letterman said humans have run out of time, and I don't think it was his attempt at a joke but his feeling on the subject of our ability to stop the demise of the planet. He did, however, joke about people laughing at his question, "Wait, until you get a call from Klaatu," Letterman told his audience, a reference to the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves.

The movie is retold with environmental issues being the reason for the aliens' decision to destroy humans and not the issue from the first movie, the nations' arms race. In the 2008 version, Klaatu, an alien representing a collective of aliens and played by Reeves, says that only a handful of planets exist that can support complex life forms, and so Earth is rare and should be saved from the humans who are destroying it. (Remember, it's fiction inspired by our current state of concern.)

Letterman, speaking to Cooper, said he believes, Earth is "a planet in peril but it's too late ... If we stopped the bad behavior tomorrow we'd still be screwed," and he asked Cooper to chime in.

Cooper said there are "various levels of screwdom. So, on many levels, yes, we are screwed."

Letterman asked him if humans could choose just one problem to work on, for instance climate change, overpopulation, or poverty, what should it be? Cooper said if Letterman was asking him that question, then we really are screwed.

Watch the interview on video below. Cooper said "Planet in Peril" covers the struggle for resources on Earth and mentioned that planet's population will rise by 50 percent over the next 40 years and "already our natural resources are dwindling.

I watched part of Planet in Peril tonight, but turned it off because some of the images disturbed me more than I expected and my offspring kept bugging me to play a board game. The special, per CNN, covers myriad environmental problems that we seem to have trouble solving.

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