Why we explored two starkly different futures for the Earth in 50 years

National Geographic questions what lies ahead for the planet—will it be saved or lost? So far, it’s impossible to predict.

The saying is so well known that most of us can finish the sentence: Those who cannot remember the past …

… are condemned to repeat it.

It’s a fitting reminder this month as we mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. For the occasion, we’ve created the first ever “flip” issue of National Geographic—essentially two magazines in one—to revisit environmental milestones of the past half century and to look ahead at the world our descendants will inhabit in 2070, on Earth Day’s 100th anniversary.

More from this issue

How these threatened animals could bounce back

Your favorite foods are at risk from a rapidly warming planet

Your actions alone can’t save the planet—but these habits can help

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