We first want to thank all of you for engaging with this difficult, some say impossible assignment. We realize that documenting climate change in an assignment that lasts just a few weeks could be seen as a self-defeating limitation, given that climate change is typically measured in time segments of 30 years or more.
Yet as editors faced with these kinds of limitations on every assignment we must create, we felt it very important to make this an assignment, not just a photo contest where people pick a few pictures from their archive and call it done.
That’s the easy way out, and a not very satisfying route to take if we are truly approaching this project as an assignment, and an exercise where photographers seek out pictures for their meaning and not just their appearance.
It is much more difficult to sit down and read about an idea, engage your curiosity and imagination, and then use your cameras to produce storytelling images that are a result of that effort. These images are also much more satisfying to create, because you have invested yourself personally in thinking about and expending the effort to create them.
The variety of work was impressive. Of course some of you live in places where the effects of a changing climate are not necessarily visible to you, but that does not mean these effects are invisible to your minds eye. We saw thoughtful conceptual images, we saw powerful images of extreme weather and the effects of rising seas, we saw lyrical and beautiful images that showed everyday life, and we saw images of the struggle to survive in a world of increasingly scare resources.
Selected images from this assignment will be published in the November 2015 issue of National Geographic, a special single topic issue devoted to climate change.
Thank you for your engagement and contributions to this project, and may future assignments bring you creative satisfaction.
Jessie Wender is a senior photo editor at National Geographic magazine where she commissions and researches features and the magazine's short form sections, including Visions, Proof, and Departments. She loves working with artists and with creative people, and is a huge supporter of emerging photographers.
Dennis Dimick is National Geographic's executive editor for the environment, and grew up hiking and fishing in the national forests of Oregon's Cascade Mountains. An avid hobby photographer, he has been a picture editor at the National Geographic Society since 1980.