Four flights and just over 34 hours of travel marked the beginning of the second phase of our 2009 Expedition Blue Planet as we flew halfway around the globe to join the Blue Legacy film crew in Cambodia. What started as a research outline quickly evolved into a five continent expedition dedicated to chronicling the interconnectivity of some of our most critical water stories.
But it wasn’t water that caught my attention as we winged our way above the Mekong River and banked to touch down in Phnom Penh. It was a thick blanket blocking the sun and shrouding the twisting gold and orange spires of local Wats in a cloak of drab gray. The thick scent of burning wood was caught in my throat and I realized that the city’s shroud is it’s ancient forests slipping slowly skyward leaving only stumps and muddy hillsides where once stood a global treasure.