We believe in the power of science, exploration, education, and storytelling to change the world.
The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization committed to making an impact in our world.
Together with our donors and partners, we’ve helped to protect 850,000 square miles of critical ocean habitat, built 262 bomas to protect big cats, and made almost 12,000 grants to scientists and others in the field.
We Care for Our Living Planet
Photograph by Manu San Félix
National Geographic’s Pristine Seas works with organizations, communities, and governments to protect the ocean’s last wild places. Led by Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala, with support from individuals, foundations, and corporations, Pristine Seas has already inspired the protection of 850,000 square miles (2.2 million square kilometers) of ocean across the globe and is contributing to the international goal of protecting 10 percent of the ocean by 2020.
Pristine Seas expeditions to the southern coast of Mozambique, Palau, and Rapa Iti/Marotiri in 2014 will help inspire the creation of new marine sanctuaries. Ongoing work from earlier expeditions is making an impact. The United Kingdom recently established the world’s largest contiguous ocean reserve around the Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific, thanks in part to Pristine Seas and key partners. In 2014 Gabon announced a network of marine parks protecting 23 percent of the country’s territorial waters, following a Pristine Seas expedition to Gabon in 2012 led by Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay and Sala. In 2014 the U.S. expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to nearly six times its previous size. The Pristine Seas team helped make possible the original designation of this monument in 2009 and its expansion in 2015.
The work of Pristine Seas is made possible through the generous contributions of the following principal donors: Blancpain, Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, The Case Foundation, Davidoff Cool Water, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Rosemary and Roger Enrico, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Jynwel Foundation, Sven Lindblad/Lindblad Expeditions, Vicki and Roger Sant, The Philip Stephenson Foundation, and The Waitt Foundation.
We Explore New Frontiers
Photograph by Anand Varma
When we think about threats to the environment, images of congested highways or clear-cut forests probably come to mind. But agriculture is a greater contributor to global warming than transportation and has significant effects on water supply, pollution, and biodiversity. By 2050 there will be nine billion people on Earth and finding a fair and secure way to feed ourselves is a huge challenge of the 21st century.
In 2014, National Geographic launched a multiyear initiative to explore how we can feed nine billion people—without overwhelming the planet. World-class journalism and photography, compelling videos and TV specials, live presentations and demonstrations, interactive mapping, and infographics have made National Geographic’s Future of Food initiative part of a global conversation.
In-depth features in National Geographic magazine and online have covered complex and controversial topics such as genetically modified crops; hunger, malnutrition, and obesity in America, the richest country on Earth; and the conflict between large-scale agriculture and subsistence farmers in Africa. The six-part miniseries Eat: The Story of Food aired on the National Geographic Channel in November 2014; it examined how humanity’s appetite has altered—and continues to alter—the Earth.
The Future of Food initiative would not be possible without the generous support of The Rockefeller Foundation, The 1772 Foundation, The Christensen Fund, and GRACE Communications Foundation.
We Reveal Our Human Story
Photograph by John Stanmeyer
National Geographic Fellow and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Paul Salopek is now in the third year of his unprecedented seven-year adventure on an epic 21,000-mile journey that retraces the path of early human migration, beginning at the birthplace of humanity in Ethiopia and ending at Tierra del Fuego, at the tip of South America. The Out of Eden Walk links the age-old tradition of the walking storyteller with digital tools and emerging multimedia technologies to share the stories of ordinary people, who are usually unseen behind the headlines.
In 2014, Paul Salopek’s route took him through Turkey, where he and photographer John Stanmeyer witnessed one of the largest forced dislocations in modern history, as tens of thousands of Syrian refugees flowed across the border into Turkey. A March 2015 National Geographic article by Salopek explored what this displacement has meant for the men, women, and children who now find themselves destitute wanderers.
A generous grant from Knight Foundation will help National Geographic develop innovative tools for deeper digital engagement with Salopek’s avid online followers. This support is expanding the “digital campfire” to create a dynamic, integrated online experience that brings Salopek and the people he encounters on his walk together with curious online audiences around the globe.
We Protect Critical Species
Photograph by Steve Winter
Over the past five years 40,000 individuals have supported National Geographic’s work to help communities around the world understand, protect, and live with big cats. Our Big Cats Initiative invests in on-the-ground conservation programs that will have the greatest impact on the dire situation facing big cats. Since 2010, BCI has supported 73 conservation projects in 25 countries. In 2014 alone, we made 18 grants to help protect big cats, including our first grants to support jaguar conservation in Belize and Guyana.
BCI grantees work with communities to understand and combat threats to big cats through community-based efforts like creating anti-poaching and snare patrols and providing medical treatment for snared animals. Our grantees are also developing outreach and education programs that help people understand and appreciate big cats as an important part of the ecosystem. They develop and promote sustainable management practices that serve both communities and cats.
BCI’s Build a Boma program allows donors to directly support the communities that live with big cats by helping them build and improve bomas, traditional livestock corrals that serve as a barrier between herds and big cats. Sturdy bomas keep livestock safe from attack by big cats, just as they keep big cats safe from retaliatory killings by the herders who depend on livestock for income. Build a Boma helped construct 262 new bomas in Kenya and Tanzania in 2014. The enclosures protect more than 50 lions a year in a region that is critical for their long-term survival.
Our work wouldn’t be possible without your support. Thank you.
Photographs at top by Joel Sartore (elephants) and Steve Winter (tiger)