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David Maxwell Braun

of National Geographic Society

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media.

Assignments in 80 countries/territories included visits to a secret rebel base in Angola, Sahrawi camps in Algeria, and Wayana villages in the remote Amazon. Braun traveled with Nelson Mandela on the liberation leader's Freedom Tour of North America, accompanied President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton to their foundation's projects in four African countries and Mexico, covered African peace talks chaired by Fidel Castro in Havana and Boutros Boutros-Ghali in Cairo, and collaborated with Angelina Jolie at World Refugee Day events in Washington, D.C. As a member of the National Geographic Expeditions Council, and media representative to the Society's Committee for Research and Exploration, he joined researchers on field inspections in many parts of the world.

Braun has been a longtime member/executive of journalist guilds, press clubs, and professional groups, including the National Press Club (Washington) and editorial committee of the Online Publishers Association. He served as WMA Magazine of the Year Awards judge (2010-2012), advisory board member of Children's Eyes On Earth International Youth Photography Contest (2012), and multimedia/communications affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers (2015-2017).

David Braun edits National Geographic Voices, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. Contributors include grantees and Society partners, as well as universities, foundations, interest groups, and individuals dedicated to a sustainable world.

He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience.

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‘Planetary Boundaries’ a flawed mechanism to safeguard Earth’s biodiversity, scientists warn

The notion that human impacts will be fine, so long as we keep them within “planetary boundaries” is seductive, but deeply flawed scientifically. Worse, though well-intentioned, it encourages harmful policies, three of the world’s leading ecologists argue in a peer-reviewed commentary published this month in Trends in Ecology & Evolution.

“A critical question is how should we manage human actions that harm the natural world,” said Stuart L. Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “Do we really want to operate under the assumption – as the notion of a planetary boundary for biodiversity purports – that humans can go about business as usual so long as the impacts of our actions remain within some arbitrary ‘safe operating space’?”

Gus and the Invisible Friend

On a stormy night in the Low Country of South Carolina, a cat gives birth, under a small blue cottage, to five kittens. When the kittens are unexpectedly orphaned, the family living in the house above them brings them in and helps them to find good homes. Before the kittens are separated, they vow to…

How we can do more with less water – and then give some back to nature

In her just-released book, Replenish: The Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity, Sandra Postel makes the case that building water security in the 21st Century requires that we enlist nature’s help in preparing for floods, droughts, wildfires and water shortages.  In this Q&A, Sandra talks about our false narratives around water, why she refrains from using the term “water resource,” and what gives her hope for solving society’s big water challenges.

Mapping the World Public Policy Dialogue: Ocean Conservation

National Geographic Society leaders converged on Capitol Hill in Washington. D.C. this week to deliberate with Congressional leaders on ways to address the many challenges facing the oceans. Society President and CEO Gary E. Knell convened the Mapping the World Public Policy Dialogue on Ocean Conservation, held at the Library of Congress across the street…

National Geographic Explorer Jason De León Named MacArthur Foundation 2017 Fellow

National Geographic Emerging Explorer (2013) Jason De León is one of 24 MacArthur Foundation 2017 Fellows announced today. The anthropologist’s multidisciplinary approach to the study of migration from Latin America to the United States is bringing to light the lives and deaths of clandestine migrants crossing the U.S.–Mexico border into the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, MacArthur says on…

2017-18 Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytellers Announced

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the National Geographic Society announced today the selection of the 2017-2018 Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows.

Bald Eagle Celebrated by National Geographic Photo Ark for Independence Day

America’s national bird, the iconic bald eagle, continues to make a spectacular recovery ten years after it was removed from the Endangered Species List. For that we can be thankful as the U.S. celebrates Independence Day, not only for the saving of a majestic bird from extinction, but also as encouragement that we can make a difference if we unite behind a plan to restore and protect nature. In this post, learn more about the bald eagle, watch videos, and find out how two of America’s most famous statesmen had opposing views about this beloved raptor.

Great Barrier Reef supports 64,000 jobs and generates $6.4 billion for Australian economy, Deloitte calculates

The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living structure, spanning an area larger than the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the Netherlands put together, is not only a haven for countless thousands of marine species. The Great Barrier Reef also provides enormous economic services to people, with tourism, fishing, and recreational and scientific activities associated with the Reef supporting 64,000 jobs and contributing $6.4 billion (U.S. S4.9 billion) to the Australian GDP, according to an analysis published by the international financial advisory service Deloitte.

Should we attempt to set up a self-sustaining city of a million people on Mars?

Stay on Earth and eventually be doomed by some extinction event [such as a massive meteor impact like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs], or become a space-bearing civilization and multi-planetary species, starting perhaps with a self-sustaining city on Mars within this century? That’s the proposition by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in a commentary published today in the journal New Space.

Pushing the frontiers of human exploration, on Earth and beyond

Should we be going to Mars, the moon and other places beyond Earth when we are not able to properly explore and take care of our home planet? Is the huge money being spent on extraterrestrial exploration the best investment we can make when we still haven’t seen, let alone, mapped most of the ocean floor?

These fundamental questions were at the heart of an hour-long debate at today’s National Geographic Explorers Festival in Washington, D.C.

National Geographic Buffet Awards 2017: Rosamira Guillen and Olivier Nsengimana

What do two Critically Endangered enigmatic animals — a majestic wading bird in Africa and an adorable monkey with a shock of white hair in South America — have in common at the National Geographic Explorers Festival? They each have a remarkable champion advocating and working for their survival who have been recognized with the 2017 National Geographic Buffet Award.

Secrets for successful science communication: Story-selling, sciencetelling, your passionate self

Want to get the secret sauce for effective communication of science? Three of National Geographic’s most famous explorers shared their advice and experience at the National Geographic Explorers Festival in Washington, D.C. today.

Pristine Seas facing major setback as Trump Administration reviews world’s largest marine preserves, Enric Sala warns

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala is concerned that the recently announced U.S. Department of the Interior review of Papahanaumokuakea and four other marine monuments may be the first major setback for Pristine Seas, a National Geographic project launched in 2008 to explore and help save the last wild places in the ocean.

“This is a true land grab, a few companies trying to exploit something that belongs to all Americans and humanity,” said at the National Geographic Society Explorers Festival in Washington, D.C. today.

How the National Geographic Society Has Rebooted to Help Restore Earth’s Natural Equilibrium

Six months into his new position as National Geographic chief scientist, Jonathan Baillie, the former conservation programmes director of the Zoological Society of London, outlined his “scientific vision” for how the National Geographic Society would work to help create a a planet that’s going to provide for 9 billion people — and all forms of other life. “How do we do this with 9 billion people on the planet? This is the great challenge we all face. National Geographic now needs to think about its unique role helping us face this challenge,” Baillie told hundreds of National Geographic explorers and staff gathered at the Society’s headquarters for this week’s Explorers Festival.

National Geographic Explorers a ‘Secret Weapon’ to Change the World, Says Society President Gary Knell

“This is truly National Geographic’s moment, because as Neil deGrasse Tyson says, the great thing about science is that it’s true, whether you believe it or not,” National Geographic Society President and CEO Gary E. Knell said at the opening of the Explorers Festival (#NatGeoFest) at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. today.

Knell told hundreds of National Geographic explorers and staff that the Society had been through a major transition that transformed the organization, “a transformation that better positioned National Geographic to address the multiple challenges facings its future, but more importantly, facing our planet. We figured out a way to support your critical work in a more direct way and tackle those issues by connecting and integrating our multimedia platforms. And today the content that we are generating, the stories we’re telling, the grants we’re making, the actions we’re taking are more needed and important than ever before.”