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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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Big Cat Week video: Ride along with a team of lion protectors

Join 2016 National Geographic Emerging Explorer Thandiwe Mweetwa on a mission to track down lions. This carnivore conservationist has dedicated her life to preserving Africa’s disappearing lion population through scientific research, animal rescue, and community outreach.

Critically Endangered Sumatran tigers born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom make first public appearance

With fewer than 500 left in the wild, Sumatran tigers are very near becoming extinct in their natural environment, which is why the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) is working with groups like the Wildlife Conservation Society on its Reverse the Decline initiative to develop strategies for saving the last of these big cats. The International…

Big Cat Week video: Warriors on a mission to help lions and humans coexist

Jeneria Lekilelei, a warrior from the Samburu tribe of Northern Kenya, has dedicated his life to wildlife conservation. In 2010 he founded Warrior Watch to encourage Samburu men to conserve lions. Since then, the local lions population has risen from 11 animals to 50. However, increased periods of drought in recent years force wildlife and people to compete for the same resources, oftentimes causing conflict. Watch as Lekilelei and his team fight to protect lions under the harshest conditions.

Cheetahs in southern Africa are closer to extinction than thought, National Geographic–supported research finds

A comprehensive assessment of cheetah populations in southern Africa supported by the National Geographic Society reveals the dire state of one of the planet’s most iconic big cats, the Society said in a news statement today. “In a study published today in the open-access journal PeerJ, researchers present evidence that low cheetah population estimates in southern Africa and population decline support a call to list the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) as ‘Endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the news release said.

Supported in part by the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative, estimates only 3,577 adult cheetahs exist in this extensive area, which is larger than France, and a majority (55 percent) of individuals are found within only two habitats. This estimate is 19 percent lower than the IUCN’s current assessment, supporting the call for the uplisting of cheetahs from “Vulnerable” to “Endangered.” A species assessed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. Species assessed as Endangered are considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.

Big Cat Week video: What it takes to rescue a fierce leopard

What would you do if you came face-to-face with a 175 pound, agitated leopard? If you’re conservation power-couple Marlice and Rudie van Vuuren, you’ve been on the receiving end of such a scenario about 112 times.

Big Cat Week video: Helping cheetahs find a mate

You may not have had “cheetah matchmaker” featured at your high school career fair, but that’s just what Vincent van der Merwe’s business card may as well read. But trying to repopulate the highly vulnerable species can be as dangerous as it is exciting. Watch the video to see what happens when van der Merwe tries to translocate a very unhappy cheetah across South Africa.

‘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.