National Geographic : 2015 Nov
FROM THE EDITOR Climate Change PHOTO (BOTTOM LEFT): BRANDON HILL Susan Goldberg, Editor in Chief Of Coverage and Covers For some people, the subject of climate change is top of mind: They are passionately interested, want to learn everything they can, and are motivated to reduce their carbon footprint. They’ll like this issue. Then there are other folks. There are some who deny climate change is happening at all (about 25 percent of Americans in some polls) and others who feel about climate change the way I do about the tax code or car repair— they know they should care, but please, spare them the details. They also believe they can’t do a thing to affect the outcome anyway. These are the people we thought about every day in putting together this month’s print and digital magazine, which is devoted to exploring climate change and timed to coincide with the global climate conference in Paris. “The problem with climate change is that it’s very large, and as individuals, we seem quite small against it, so it’s easy for people to feel disempowered.” That’s what Bill McKibben says, and he should know: He’s the writer, environmentalist, and activist whose 1989 book, The End of Nature, introduced climate change to a general audience. A generation later, McKibben says, he is seeing a break- through. Not only is the scientific evidence compelling and much discussed—2015 is expected to be the hottest year on record, with 2014 the hottest year before that—but people are finally beginning to feel like they can take action. “ We need a reasonable alternative to imagine some other future,” he says. “That has become much more apparent.” Inside this issue you can see what that future might look like. Our coverage ranges from an in-depth story on how a major industrialized nation is trying to kick its coal depen- dency to practical guides on what you, as an individual, can do to make a difference. Still, it’s not an easy topic. To that end we’re sharing a few of the dozens of tried-and-rejected versions of this month’s cover. As you can see, we started out with our traditional yellow border and a literal approach—could there be a more literal representation of climate change than a man on a melting ice floe? But after much deliberation, we ended up with an eye-popping declaration on the Earth’s climate imperative: Cool it. Whatever your views on climate change, we hope this issue will be infor- mative, entertaining, and most of all, engaging on a subject that affects us all. Thank you for reading. Follow scientist, engineer, and comedian Bill Nye as he explores his feelings about climate change, what’s gone wrong with our planet, and how we can fix it. Bill Nye’s Global Meltdown, an episode of National Geographic’s Explorer series, is hosted by Nye and airs on November 1. Which of the designs would you choose: the one on our cover, or one of the four above? Cast your vote at ngm.com/cover.