When I was a kid growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, I was a voracious reader with eclectic tastes. One week I’d get into comets. Then whales. Herculaneum. Tectonic plates. Senegal. I’d read something that would pique my interest, and head to the library to find books from which I could learn more.
I was lucky that my grandmother—someone who taught me a lot about the benefit of remaining curious throughout life—gave our family a subscription to National Geographic when I was eight or nine years old. More often than not, the catalyst for my new obsession was an article in the magazine that exposed me to something I hardly knew existed or that I thought I knew but didn’t really understand.
As I grew older, it was National Geographic that opened my eyes to the wonder of our world. What I discovered in its pages helped me build a more complete and nuanced picture of our planet—the glory, the challenges, and above all, the thrilling diversity of people, places, and things.
It was also National Geographic that ultimately inspired me to get out there and do my own exploring. Experiencing more of our world not only increased my knowledge; it reinforced the importance and urgency of preserving and protecting our planet.
Although this issue is my first as National Geographic’s editor in chief, our incredibly talented team produced it mostly before my arrival. As a reader, I’d particularly recommend our fascinating cover story, “In a warming climate, we need to radically rethink how we conserve nature,” which explores the frontiers of American conservation as we look to protect 30 percent of our land and water by 2030.
I’m delighted to be able to introduce myself here, and honored to be associated with an organization that has had such outsize influence on my life. In the coming months, we’ll be formulating plans for National Geographic’s future, in our effort to remain as essential, relevant, and authoritative as ever. I’m excited about what we have ahead for you, and I hope you’ll join us on the journey.