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This assignment ran from May 8 to May 29, 2017.

For this assignment, Your Shot invites you to photograph sustainability—the concept that survival depends on the health of our natural environment.

The goal of this assignment is to document examples of how humans are living in harmony with the Earth. As you think about what to photograph, I encourage you to reflect on this relationship, and then think about how we as humans can reduce the stress we put on the planet.

Climate change is a global issue, and sometimes it feels like one person cannot make a difference. But I believe we can, and I believe that the Your Shot community can lead by example. You can inspire your family and friends to re-consider their actions. You can educate your children with positive actions they will remember for the rest of their lives. To be successful, sustainability is a habit and not one-and-done action.

This is also your chance to be published on the Your Shot page in National Geographic magazine. I will curate this assignment, and I’ll share my favorites with senior photo editor Jessie Wender and assistant photo editor Julie Hau. They will ultimately be selecting the finalists for publication. I know this will be a tougher assignment, and I’m really interested to see who rises to the challenge! Go to the first Editor's Update for ideas on what to photograph.

SUBMISSION Deadline is May 29, 2017 at 12PM EST.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

Curated by:

David Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Assignment Status
  • Open

    Everyone’s welcome to contribute their best shot to open assignments. Learn more.
  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
Published Jun 12, 2017.
Thank you for your contributions!

Check This Out

Posted may 16, 2017

Check out this BuzzFeed article from May 12, 2017 — one of the five photo stories they highlighted is National Geographic's "The Energy of Tomorrow Looks Strikingly Artistic From Above" featuring Your Shot photographer Jassen T. You might recognize this lead photo as one Jassen submitted to the "Sustainability" assignment.

Ideas to Photograph Sustainability

Posted may 8, 2017

Photographing a concept like sustainability can be tough, so here are some ideas for you!

Find a nearby farmers’ market, where people can purchase local produce and flowers. Maybe you have a garden in your backyard, or are part of a rooftop garden community in the city. These settings can yield some beautiful images that celebrate sustainable food.

Think about other positive steps to reduce the stress of human impact on the planet, and the ways they play out in your community. From water conservation, to alternate sources of energy like windmills and solar panels, to changing your commute from driving to public transportation or riding a bike—these everyday occurrences might be more visible than you realize.

Finally, it’s also okay to reflect on the past, and how we preserve it for the future. Maybe some of you have visited a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Maybe some of you have hiked through forests or swum in oceans that are protected. It’s possible that your photos from these adventures could be exactly what we’re looking for!

I hope these ideas help. I’m looking forward to seeing what creative ideas you come up with!

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

David Lee

David Lee

Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Before joining the Your Shot team, David covered the White House for Time and Newsweek, and served as an official photographer for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He also started The Waiting List, a non-profit storytelling project humanizing the statistics of organ donation.