EXCLUSIVE: New stunning National Geographic images explore aspects of climate change – from an orphan elephant to an underwater farm – in the upcoming issue of the magazine celebrating Earth Day’s 50th anniversary
- Earth’s first day was on April 22, 1970, and the upcoming April issue of National Geographic commemorates the 50th anniversary of the event
- After the publication of Rachel Carson’s bestseller Silent Spring in 1962, an environmental movement started that took millions of people on the street for that first Earth Day
- The April issue of National Geographic examines what climate change means in everyday life: from food to transportation
It’s been fifty years since Earth’s first day was celebrated, and in commemoration, the upcoming National Geographic issue examines what climate change means in everyday life: from food to transportation.
After the publication of Rachel Carson’s bestseller Silent Spring in 1962, people around the world and in the United States began to think more about the environment. This led to Earth’s first day on April 22, 1970, when 20 million Americans entered “the streets, parks and auditoriums” to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies, “the website said. Earth Day.
Below are images of National Geographic’s Earth Day April 2020 issue, with features that look at the effects of climate change. For more information on this story, visit natgeo.com/EarthDay.
An orphan elephant is comforted by a conservationist at Kenya’s Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, the first elephant sanctuary owned by the community in Africa. Reteti has successfully integrated six orphans into wild herds
A diver from Noli, Italy harvests tomatoes from Nemo’s Garden, an experimental underwater farm where plants grow without soil or pesticides – a potential boon for non-arable places
An abandoned yellow pickup truck with a field of wind turbines behind it in Grady, NM
Emperor penguins normally breed on sea ice, it takes over eight months to raise their chicks. When sea ice is unstable or disintegrates before the chicks flee, emperors sometimes head to the more stable ice shelf of the continent. Young birds must then jump from a great height to feed in the ocean. The sea ice is expected to decrease as the oceans warm. If the penguins don’t adapt, their population can drop dramatically
Preserving tropical forests like this, part of the Arfak Mountains Nature Reserve in West Papua, Indonesia, is critical to the well-being of the planet. As the trees grow in such forests – accounting for 60 percent of all photosynthesis on Earth – they absorb many billions of tons of carbon dioxide annually, including some emitted by people who burn fossil fuels. But when the forests are cut or burned, the carbon is released. Protecting these immense carbon lockers is perhaps the most cost effective solution for climate change
In 2002, California committed to extracting 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2017. It exceeded its target – and increased it to 100 percent by 2045.
Indo-Pacific sergeants swim around a plastic bag near Taiwan. Annually, an estimated 8.8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean, killing millions of sea animals
A pump jacket floats in a cotton field near Lubbock, Texas, on the northern edge of the Permian Basin. Deep slate fracking enabled this region to pump more than a third of U.S. crude oil in 2019. For the month of September, when this photo was taken, the US was a net oil exporter for the first time since its monthly registration in 1973.
Gwen Nordgren sits by the pool next to the charred ruins of her former home in Paradise, California. Two months after the fire, Nordgren allowed Muller to accompany her on her return to say goodbye to the ‘perfect retirement home’, a place filled with 15 years of memories. The pool occupies a special place in her mind. “I’d go alone in the pool in the morning,” says Nordgren. “I got in my bathing suit and stepped into this beautiful pool and I just felt like a queen. I’d look up at this beautiful blue California sky ‘
Above Greta Thunberg. After catching the world’s attention at the United Nations in New York last September, the now 17-year-old activist spoke at the UN climate change conference in Madrid in December. Her main theme: science. “I have made many speeches and learned that when you speak in public, you have to start with something personal or emotional to get everyone’s attention,” she said. “But today I won’t do that, because then those expressions are all people focus on. They don’t remember the facts, which is why I say those things in the first place. ‘
Above the cover of the new issue