Nat Geo: Exploring, Inspiring, Educating, Scaling Impact, and Changing Ownership.
I am excited by innovative, new ‘start-ups’ and disruptive ideas…but sometimes it is the revered institutions which have remained relevant over generations that deserve recognition. You can read National Geographic’s magazine, watch their TV Channel, read their books, travel on their expeditions and now I find out that the 130 year old trusted institution is a leader in protecting The Last Wild Places. It is reported that National Geographic reaches over 700 million people each month with a combination of print, social media, television and other communication – wow.
I recently spent an inspiring evening with The American Prairie Reserve and heard from Ken Burns, the ‘father’ of American documentary film, about the efforts of National Geographic to preserve ‘Wild Places’ around the world. I confess that I love Nat Geo’s magazine and photo journalism, but I am just learning about its scale and broader mission.
The National Geographic Society is an impact-driven global nonprofit organization that pushes the boundaries of exploration, furthering understanding of our world and empowering us all to generate solutions for a healthy, more sustainable future for generations to come. Our ultimate vision: a planet in balance. ~National Geographic Society
I hope you find National Geographic’s efforts as inspiring as I do. Their scientists give credible voice to the crisis caused by the dramatic increase in human population. We are depleting the planet. Humans use three times as many resources than we generate from renewable sources. National Geographic supports efforts to get our planet back in balance.
Achieving 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.
We believe the Society can best contribute to achieving a planet in balance through the following three strategic aims:
- Inspire people to place greater value on the natural world and its people;
- Secure the natural systems essential for all life on Earth; and
- Drive innovation that helps create a planet in balance.
Ultimately, all of our activities are geared toward achieving at least one of our three strategic aims. ~National Geographic
Here is what the National Geographic Society is doing for some of ‘The Last Wild Places’.
The ocean covers 70% of the earth and it is polluted and warming. It is being over-fished, and is becoming more acidic. National Geographic’s Pristine Seas Project.
The Okavango Delta, in southern Africa, is a huge freshwater wetland and water source for over a million people. National Geographic’s Okavango Wilderness Project.
‘Into the Okavango’, premiered in December 2018. You can watch it at home on Amazon Prime Video. 1 hour, 33 minutes. $2.99.
The National Geographic Grants Program funds projects in conservation, education, research, storytelling, or technology. They have requests for proposals in documenting human migrants, uncovering human origins, species recovery, conservation of big cats, reducing ocean plastic pollution, alpine climate change, and many more. Exploration grants are given for a year and are generally for $10,000 to $30,000.
Have you been following the changes in ownership at National Geographic?
National Geographic was a non-profit organization from 1888 to 2015. Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox bought 73% of the company in a $725 Million deal in 2015. The original National Geographic Society retains 27% of the ownership and continues as a non-profit with income from its ‘for-profit’ partner. The resulting endowment for the non-profit National Geographic Society is over $1 Billion.
The new company is called National Geographic Partners and the original board was half 21st Century Fox and half National Geographic Society.
Last month, Disney bought 21st Century Fox and now owns the majority share in National Geographic Partners.
Let’s hope that this new partnership expands Nat Geo’s voice in all its endeavors.