Photograph by Mark Thiessen, NGM staff
Read Caption
Tracy R. Wolstencroft, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society
Photograph by Mark Thiessen, NGM staff

Our mission: ‘working toward a planet in balance’

From National Geographic Society President and CEO Tracy R. Wolstencroft, an invitation to help build a sustainable future.

This story appears in the December 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Legendary conservationist Jane Goodall often says, “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, will we help.” For 130 years the National Geographic Society has inspired generations of people to better understand and care for our planet.

This enduring legacy underscores our role as changemakers who illuminate the wonders of our world, identify the threats, and discover solutions. Today our ultimate goal is to catalyze action to achieve a planet in balance.

The world we have celebrated is now changing in ways our founders could never have imagined. When the Society was established in 1888, there were roughly 1.5 billion people on Earth. Now there are more than 7.6 billion. The issues we face are significant: a race for resources to provide for a growing global population, a warming planet, and unprecedented biodiversity loss.

Working toward a planet in balance, one that provides for humanity and the untold millions of other species with which we live, will be the greatest challenge of our century. As an impact-driven global nonprofit, the National Geographic Society is committed to addressing this challenge.

We will harness the power of partnerships to support the world’s best scientists, explorers, conservationists, educators, and storytellers—bold individuals with transformative ideas who drive innovation to ensure a healthy and sustainable future. We will invest in the tools, technology, and training to empower our international community of explorers and innovators to ignite change. And together with our strategic partners, we will scale solutions grounded in science to safeguard our planet.

Our success hinges on fostering an informed global public—individuals, policymakers, corporations, foundations, and other like-minded organizations—that believes in our mission, values the natural world, and is determined to protect it for generations to come.

As the National Geographic Society’s new president and CEO, I am deeply inspired by our mission. I am confident that working together, we can advance toward our ultimate goal: a planet in balance. We hope you will join us.