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December 11th, 2008
08:19 AM ET

When battle lines cross the line

Program Note: CNN’s award-winning Planet in Peril returns this year to examine the conflict between growing populations and natural resources. Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Lisa Ling travel to the front lines of this worldwide battle.
Watch Planet In Peril: Battle Lines Thursday 9p ET

We devote several days on the blog to smart insight and commentary related to the special.
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Planet In Peril Senior Photojournalist Philip Littleton with Lisa Ling on assignment
Planet In Peril Senior Photojournalist Philip Littleton with Lisa Ling on assignment

Philip Littleton
Senior Photojournalist

Looking for lines. The challenge of finding where humans bumped heads with the wild. And so we set off in search of these lines. The journey was to take us to Africa, the Far East, South America and the Arctic.

Where was the line that should have protected the baby elephant and the other sixty-three elephant from the hail of poacher’s bullets in Tchad.

Why did the heavily armed guerrillas senselessly kill the Mountain Gorillas in the DRC? What line did they cross?

Who says the hungry little Cameroonian boy may not eat the porcupine his father hunted from the forest.

What is going to happen to the beautifully barren Alaskan coast line when the slogan “ Drill Baby Drill” becomes a reality? .

How are we going to stop all the sharks from having their fins ripped off for flavoring soup?

These were some of the places and situations we found ourselves in this year –

I first visited the Niger Delta in 1998….when we went back the ooze was still coming out of the ground. I heard the promises the oil companies and central government made to the people in ‘98 – the promises haven’t changed – the oil continues to coat the poverty.

I have heard a lot of talk and fashionable debate on how all this can be solved. Seen the bumper stickers. Watched the problem be handed to others. Lets all take a look at what is around us and start there

As always take care


Filed under: Philip Littleton • Planet in Peril
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. all4naija

    The Niger-Delta issue is just among the things the developed world companies operating in that region ignored for years yet they never operate the same way in the nations of origin, which is major obstacle to Nigeria`s development not until MEND attacks. I mean, the companies bribed our individual leaders with huge amount of money(who would not co-operate in a God forsaken nation?). They have being using this idea on most foolish Nigerian leaders for long time, meanwhile, unforgettable Ken Sarowiwa.

    December 11, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Jo Ann

    Philip,

    As a photojournalist I think your perspective on these problems is even more intimate than that of the reporters covering them.

    I believe the answer lies in education and awareness, which “Planet in Peril” is helping to provide.

    We need to redraw these “lines.” Unfortunately, they always seem to move in favor of human greed and selfishness at the expense of everything else and unless we change our perspective these problems will multiply and remain unsolved.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    December 11, 2008 at 11:26 am |
  3. Cindy

    Phil,
    You are so right...where does it end? We see senseless slaughters, people going hungry and such yet no one wants to take the lead and do anything about it. They all have ideas but no one wants to try them out. They'd rather sit on the sidelines and let others do it. It's all talk and no do....

    Looking forward to seeing your work tonight.

    Cindy...Ga.

    December 11, 2008 at 10:12 am |
  4. Joanne, Solvay, NY

    Please research the destruction of the world's rain forest. Not only do we have precious species to protect, but potential herbal research supported by the fact that this rare vegetation provides life-saving chemicals that may be the only source of miraculous scientific cures for disease in the future.

    December 11, 2008 at 9:49 am |
  5. Annie Kate

    Phillip

    The team picked some good places for this year. I'm looking forward to seeing PIP and hearing what you found out. Next year I hope the PIP team will show the Alaska Wildlife Refuge and what will happen to it and the polar bears and other animals if "drill baby drill" prevails. Another battleline is the water shortages that are going to occur in all countries – Cyprus is already importing water from Greece but inland glaciers that provide fresh water for many people in the western US are melting fast and will soon be gone – what then? The same for the glaciers in the Andes in Peru and Argentina and the like. So many battlelines and in the end you may be photographing the last of many species for future generations to see. Thank you for your wonderful work.

    December 11, 2008 at 8:41 am |