Photograph courtesy Blue Legacy International
About the Project
Expedition Blue Planet will chronicle the interconnectivity of water. A key aspect of the project will be its ability to show how individual stories are part of the larger, universal story of an interdependent, global water ecosystem. Alexandra Cousteau and her team strive to create a new vision for what it means to live in a world where water is the most precious resource, and a plan for what must be done to protect it. By delivering interactive, expedition-based storytelling, Alexandra Cousteau and her team will engage a broad spectrum of people of all ages in a voyage of discovery and an exploration of water issues around the world.
The story of the water on our planet has never been more crucial and relevant than it is today. In an era of climate change, desertification, sea level rise, acid rain, drought, falling water tables, dead zones, and widespread pollution, water quality and quantity is becoming more critical by the minute. The global forces of extraction and expansion are jeopardizing the very substance that supports life on our planet.
There is great truth to the adage that we are all downstream from one another. The midwestern United States is downstream from the coal-fired power plants of China. The rising tides inundating the Sundarban Islands of India are downstream from the carbon emissions of billions of cars around the world. And we are all literally downstream from the melting of the polar ice caps. How we manage our water resources has implications for many of the critical issues we face—from women as primary water gatherers, subsistence farming, and the health and balance of wildlife systems, to water refugees, the health of children, and the spreading of disease. Unfortunately, these connections are not well understood by the general public, whose choices as individuals and as a collective can contribute to either the degradation or the conservation of our water.
Critical Work in Research, Conservation, Exploration, and EducationSince 1888, National Geographic has supported exploration and discovery, bringing gems like Machu Picchu, undersea wonders, and new species to light. Our programs in field-based research, conservation, exploration, and education continue to provide the world with scientific breakthroughs and discoveries that inspire people everywhere to care about our planet. Today, a new generation of National Geographic explorers are redefining exploration. Living the mission and making the world a better place. Meet these explorers and learn more about our funded projects throughout the world.
Projects Currently in the Field
Where will Paul Salopek walk on his seven-year adventure? Find out as he updates us from the field.
A National Geographic-sponsored expedition to save the Critically Endangered Chinese swamp cypress.
Enric Sala and the team are exploring, researching, and helping to protect the last wild places in the ocean.
Carlton Ward hikes 1,000 miles to highlight a wildlife corridor from Central Florida to the Gulf Coast, through the Big Bend, and across the Panhandle all the way to Alabama.
Joel Sartore is documenting biodiversity to get people to care as species face extinction.
- Real-life “Tarzan” Lee White is on a Mission to Protect Gabon’s Forest Elephants
- Abyssinian Owl Remains Elusive Amidst Beauty and Hardship on Mt Kenya
- Journey Through the Largest Cave in the World
- An Archaeology Summer Reading List
- Big Black Bears Celebrated in Big Way in Washington County, North Carolina
- Combating Lionfish? Try Eating Them!
- Capsized by a Hippo on the Okavango Expedition
- 8 Breakthrough Innovations Saving Our Ocean
- Learning to See the Forest for the Bees at Olympic National Park
- Falling Behind in Ocean Protection
Listen: Explorer Interviews
Listen to Nat Geo Explorer Interviews
Fascinating Conversations From Our Weekly Radio Show—Nat Geo Weekend
00:11:00 Bob Ballard
Boyd heads out of the studio to join National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Bob Ballard aboard his vessel the E/V Nautilus. Currently in Turkey, Ballard tells Boyd about the many shipwrecks he is finding in the Mediterranean. You can follow Ballard and his team, live as they explore the ocean at www.nautiluslive.org.
00:06:00 Valerie Clark
National Geographic grantee Valerie Clark licks frogs for a living. As Clark tells Boyd, she’s not looking for Prince Charming. Instead, she is studying how the diet of frogs in Madagascar relates to the toxicity of their skin.
00:11:00 Lee Berger Audio
National Geographic grantee and paleoanthropologist Lee Berger has been searching for the fossils of human ancestors, but it was his 9-year-old son who stumbled upon the find of a lifetime: a partial skeleton that may very well change our understanding of the genus Homo.
00:07:59 Brad Norman
Some go swimming with dolphins or stingrays, Brad Norman, National Geographic Emerging Explorer and marine conservationist, talks about swimming with the largest fish in the world: the whale shark. Norman speaks with Boyd about his research concerning whale shark habitats, tracking and conservation.
00:11:00 Losang Rabgey
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Losang Rabgey has found her life's work in strengthening rural communities on the Tibetan plateau, which includes building schools to educate local students. Rabgey joins Boyd with updates on the successful work of Machik, the non-profit she founded and now directs.
00:11:00 Dereck and Beverly Joubert
National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert capture astounding images of African wildlife in their beautiful films. The Jouberts live in the African bush alongside the lions and other animals they profile. They explain to Boyd that, because big cats are in such danger, their work is now focused on conservation projects such as the Cause an Uproar program.
00:11:00 Nathan Wolfe
National Geographic Emerging Explorer and virus hunter Nathan Wolfe says there is a disease pandemic lurking just around the corner. But, we can prepare ourselves. Wolfe says there are even ways to harness and use the power of viruses. Wolfe joins Boyd to talk about his new book, The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age, which is changing the way we think about viruses.
00:09:00 Joshua Ponte Audio
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Joshua Ponte was a successful young English entrepreneur when, over breakfast one morning, his eye fell on a newspaper ad that said "Gorilla Reintroduction Program, Gabon." His life has never been the same since. Pursuing his passion for conservation, Ponte moved to a central African forest where 13 orphaned gorillas were being studied. Boyd talks with Ponte about the joys and dangers of raising young gorillas.
00:11:00 Wade Davis
How did the death and destruction of World War One lead young British climbers to attempt an epic conquest of Mount Everest? National Geographic Explorer in Residence Wade Davis answers that question in his new book “Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest.” Davis joins Boyd in the studio to chat about the book.
00:11:00 Sylvia Earle
National Geographic Explorer in Residence Sylvia Earle has been deeper undersea than any other woman. Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author, lecturer, field scientist, and an inspiration to women around the world. She recently received the Royal Geographic Society’s 2011 Patron’s Medal. Boyd talks to Earle about some of her early dives in the Jim Suit.
00:11:00 Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner(blurb here)
00:08:00 Bruce Bachand
Many people picture archaeology as the swashbuckling adventure portrayed in the Indiana Jones trilogy. But in reality, it can be much more tedious than discovering the Holy Grail and fighting Nazis. National Geographic grantee Bruce Bachand has been meticulously sewing a 3,000 bead necklace back together in Mexico after discovering a pre-Olmec burial site that housed a tribal chief and his wife, undisturbed for several centuries.
00:09:00 Catherine Jaffee
Turkey is famed for its honey, which is music to Boyd's ears—he has a notorious sweet tooth. He visited National Geographic grantee Cat Jaffee, a beekeeper who left her job in Washington, D.C. to make honey in rural Turkey. She says that bees harvest pollen from their surroundings: the best honey comes from bees with natural surroundings, large meadows, rather than urban environments. Most people, Jaffee says, eat honey that is basically a synthetic mix of sugars from all over the world.
00:09:00 Elizabeth Lindsey
Most of human history existed before the advent of GPS technologies that can pinpoint where we are at any time. National Geographic Fellow and ethnonavigation expert, Elizabeth Lindsey has taken it upon herself to understand what it was like for Polynesian explorers to colonize tiny, remote islands across the south Pacific Ocean. To better appreciate the skills it takes to study the clouds and winds in search of land, Lindsey plans to join a team of Polynesian women who are island-hopping using traditional methods: no GPS, no cellphones and no compass.
00:11:00 Lucy Cooke