The world we have celebrated for more than 130 years is now under threat to a degree that the Society’s founders could not have imagined. When the Society was established in 1888, there were roughly 1.5 billion people on the planet. There are now over 7.6 billion people, resulting in unprecedented negative human impacts on the world’s species and ecosystems.
By some estimates, our current resource demands are already 1.5 times what the planet can provide. According to a UN forecast, by 2050 there will be an additional 2 billion people, bringing the demands on the Earth’s renewable resources to almost three times what it can sustain. As a result, we are in the process of dismantling the major ecosystems that are essential to maintaining not only the world’s human cultures, but also all life on Earth.
We aspire to achieve our goals through a unique combination of strong science, exploration, education and storytelling.
Science and exploration are at our core and are our starting points, as we believe if people truly understand the natural world and its people, they will value and protect the planet and the diverse cultures that call it home.
Critical to increasing understanding of our world is effective storytelling, and we are committed to supporting a community of innovative storytellers that is helping to convey the importance of nature and culture.
We also endeavor to inspire the public by harnessing the power of our relationship with National Geographic Partners (NGP). This allows us to amplify the work of our Explorers, Impact Initiatives and Labs. We are equally committed to engaging students, Explorers and partner organizations.
In education, we focus primarily on middle school students, as they are developing a global perspective, forming their worldviews and are open to looking at the world differently. We are currently working throughout the United States and Canada, but intend to expand our programs globally. We want to help connect students with different cultures and the natural world. We want them not only to be inspired and engaged, but, ultimately, motivated to take action.
We also want to help amplify and scale the impact of the world’s best minds. We will do this by investing in the best people possible through our grants program, impact funds and global challenges as well as by providing tools, technology and training to drive innovation in key areas and to secure the natural systems essential for all life.
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