Even amid impeachment talk and world financial turmoil, TIME sets aside 10 pages this week for a subject not always in the headlines but always vital to our future: preservation of the environment. Efforts to conserve natural resources have long been a preoccupation of TIME's, from our naming of Endangered Earth as Planet of the Year in 1989 to recent coverage of the apparent onset of global warming.
Now we launch our biggest environmental project ever: Heroes for the Planet, a two-year series of special reports. Running once a quarter, they will profile individuals who are working to save our natural heritage. Overseeing the series is international editor Charles Alexander, who has handled our environment stories for a decade.
The first report focuses on the seas, and for the lead profile TIME essayist Roger Rosenblatt explored the California coast with Sylvia Earle, a noted deep-sea diver and ocean advocate. Says he: "In a few days, she taught me the wonder of her world. I think she loves her subject too much to keep it to herself." Other stories came from a global team of TIME correspondents and contributors: Lisa Beyer, Jack Epstein, Christopher Hallowell, Thomas Sancton and John Skow. Beyer discovered that one of Jordan's leading conservationists is a 28-year-old cousin of King Hussein's.
Our reports are part of a major initiative involving several members of the Time Warner family. Rosenblatt narrated a TV version of his Earle profile for the CNN show Earth Matters (Sundays, 1:30 p.m. E.T.). TIME FOR KIDS will put out three special Heroes issues, and TIME Online will have a website, time.com/heroes and arrange online chats with our heroes. On Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. E.T., Greenpeace activist Niaz Dorry will take questions at chat.yahoo.com/time Dorry once helped plan a protest against TIME (see Skow's story), but in picking Heroes for the Planet, we didn't hold that against her.
Walter Isaacson, Managing Editor