N THE HEART OF DETROIT, America’s poorest big city, Anthony Hatinger is planting seeds in a reclaimed liquor store, a squat building repainted in Disney colors: supersize white fish swimming through happy green reeds in deep blue water.
Wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt and a gray knit cap, bathed in the glow of greenhouse lights, he holds a pen cap, maneuvering its pointy end to scoop three tiny basil seeds from his palm.
Once, Kory’s Market was a fixture in this north-central neighborhood, five miles from downtown and not yet on the go-to map in a long-derided city that improbably finds itself cool. Hatinger, who’s 25 and has a black mother and a white father, is a quiet part of that change.
On the day Hatinger was in Detroit to interview for what sounded like a dream job, a gunman took a family hostage in the neighborhood. Every day he walks or cycles past decay and rebirth: homes collapsing, homes being rebuilt, and empty lots where homes have been carted away. LET ME INTRODUCE YOU to a few Detroiters I encountered when I returned to the city where I was born and worked for 25 years.
Love this photo of the Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee gathering to make a donation to the Ronald McDonald House in Indianapolis for Food Check-Out Week 2012. Operation Homefront and many volunteers providing 800 military families with Thanksgiving dinner! Local high school student, Emma Wright, creates a walk and awareness campaign for malaria bed nets. Michael’s niece sent him a sweet note this past Thanksgiving - declaring him the best uncle ever! Volunteer members from National Geographic get caught in the act serving dinner at a food kitchen! British officers celebrate England's former colony in an Independence Day observance in Jerusalem in 1918.
Volunteer firemen representing various neighborhoods in Bowlus, Minnesota, duke it out with fire hoses in this picture taken on July 4, 2000.
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Old Glory hangs over vintage gas pumps in Springs, New York, in a photograph taken on July 4, 2008.
A couple takes in the 2010 Fourth of July fireworks show from New York City's High Line, an old freight railway. A young girl lights up the night on Independence Day, 2008, with sparklers on a dock in Walker, Minnesota.
Sparks of light cascade from a fire hydrant in the Fort Point section of Boston, Massachusetts, in a picture taken in 2012.
This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Despite a long list of other tasks to complete, Devi grabs a small bag and walks with authority down a short, dusty dirt road to the home of a family that needs her help. Devi is performing routine check ups on a baby that she delivered 12 days ago for Chandrika Tharu.
Helping others be healthy is only one of the responsibilities Devi has taken on in her remote village, where she serves as a community health volunteer. Devi lives in Khata, within the long, narrow Terai Arc landscape, which spans nearly 20,000 square miles of northern India and southern Nepal.
When asked what has motivated her to volunteer for the past 14 years, Devi says, “I want my friends and family to live long lives.” But she is also motivated by her concern for the forests.
A group of women go to work in Mahila Jagaran Community Forest, a community forest run solely by women, Karnali corridor, Nepal.
After her house call, Devi walks a half-mile to the concrete building that serves as the village resource centre. WWF steps in the rest of the year, working with, or through, numerous partners to offer advice on everything from basic health to family planning, emphasising the importance of women’s wellness and the benefits of spacing out pregnancies.
Devi teaches other women in her community the nutritional and environmental advantages of organic argriculture at scheduled meetings in her village. On this day, in a shaded area near the resource centre, two dozen women sit on benches and listen to Devi.
Tomatoes being grown in Madhu Ban Village where WWF has helped introduce the use of bio gas and organic farming practices.
Devi’s work fits into a larger tradition of community leadership on many issues, including conservation, which is a high priority for Nepal’s government. Those people now work in Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs), where they learn how to restore overused or otherwise threatened forests, and also sustainably harvest wood to use in their homes or sell in markets.
Women work to clear weeds in Mahila Jagaran Community Forest, a community forest run solely by women, Karnali corridor, Nepal.

The government’s support for conservation is a huge boon to people like Devi, whose journey was also aided by WWF.
Bhaskar Bhattarai, a senior field project officer at WWF-Nepal, reiterates Devi’s perspective on the conservation-health connection: “We need to address the people’s most immediate needs first. To help remove pressure on the forest and secure cleaner waters, WWF subsidizes the cost of constructing toilets and biogas plants. In addition to her other tasks, Devi also helps protect one such forest, a 125-acre stretch of woods around a Hindu temple. A farmer in Madhu Ban Village where WWF has helped introduce the use of bio gas and organic farming practices. In addition to educating communities about how to sustainably manage their forests, WWF also works with people to fight the devastating impacts of wildlife poaching, and provides training and equipment to stop the spread of fires.
It’s been widely reported—and a range of studies show—that empowering women is critical to conservation. Shubash Lohani, director of sustainable landscapes for WWF’s forest program, reiterates the point. All of the work devi does in her community, with national organisations and global conservation groups, comes down to a simple fact: she loves and values the natural world. The children of Jalpa Bista, chairperson of Mahila Jagaran Community Forestry User Group, at home in Karnali valley, Nepal.
National Geographic VoicesResearchers, conservationists, and others around the world share stories and commentary on the National Geographic Society's conversation platform Voices.
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Support National GeographicWe've supported more than 11,000 grants to scientists and others in the field.Learn more about our work. Two years after being discovered deep in a South African cave, the 1,500 fossils excavated during the Rising Star Expedition have been identified as belonging to a previously unknown early human relative that National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger and team have named Homo naledi. With at least 15 individuals of all ages and both sexes represented, the find adds an unprecedented amount of information to our understanding of early human evolution in Africa.
In addition, the absence of any other animal remains or large debris in the fossil chamber strongly suggests that these non-human beings intentionally deposited their dead within this cave. BANABA ISLAND, Kiribati—Asbestos dust covers the floors of Banaba’s crumbling colonial houses, buildings, and schools. He drops them onto moist, cakey plugs of soil—“brownie bites,” he calls them—as he works to give them the potential to sprout. Tough, real, and cheap, Detroit, with the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy behind it, is suddenly attractive to investors, innovators, and would-be fixers, especially young adventurers. A newcomer from central Michigan with a degree in religious studies and a minor in horticulture, he is thrilled to be working for a Christian community development agency helping to change Detroit from the ground up. After we moved away, for several years we kept a small condo there, overlooking the Detroit River. The city recognized the one-year anniversary of Congress's formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence by lighting bonfires, ringing bells, and setting off fireworks on July 4. Today this place of chronic disasters is being transformed into an archaeological showcase. Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world.
She is the secretary of the Gauri Mahila Community Forest User group in Khata Corridor, Bardia district and is also a Female Community Health Volunteer. After meticulously washing her hands, she enters the dimly lit bedroom of a woman cradling a baby. She is 35 years old, and one of approximately 50,000 people trained in everything from sanitation and nutrition to modern hygiene. The region holds endangered one-horned rhinos, elephants and the world’s largest concentration of tigers.
Trees are unsustainably harvested to provide wood for heating and cooking, or to clear space for farms and livestock. Its salmon-coloured walls house two rooms for holding workshops and a bare- bones health clinic. Switching from a wood-fuelled cooking fire to a biogas flame saves trees and time, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and prevents health problems.
In fact, the country has offered its people the opportunity to lead, coordinate and execute much of its on-the-ground environmental work. Through workshops led by WWF—often in cooperation with partners like CARE and the Family Planning Association of Nepal—she and more than 10,000 rural residents have learned about the importance of good health. In rural Nepal, only 13% of households use an appropriate water treatment method for drinking water.

When she first moved to the area, she couldn’t see the temple from her home: trees completely obscured it. In developing countries, it’s a WWF priority to ensure that women have the power to make decisions about what happens in their lives, homes and communities. Women are more risk-averse than men, and thus more likely to make decisions that minimize risks for their families and communities. That love dates back to her childhood, when she chased monkeys through the forests on her one-hour walk to school. Posters and commenters are required to observe National Geographic's community rules and other terms of service. To learn firsthand what's going on in and around this marine treasure of global importance, the National Geographic Society sent its top scientists and officials to the region in January 2016.
The fish and greens feed customers at busy new eateries as well as low-income, longtime residents at local markets. The volunteer shift was part of National Geographic Channel and Feeding America’s partnership to help fight against hunger in communities nationwide. In later years, other cities followed suit.Since then, communities across the United States have celebrated America's independence in their own distinct ways. Red symbolizes valor and hardiness, white represents purity and innocence, and blue stands for vigilance, perseverance, and justice. Communities here depend on the forest for food, water and shelter, as well as firewood and income.
And she knows that without that protection, the natural resources they rely on will disappear. One of Nepal’s approaches to addressing this and other threats is empowering people—particularly women—to be good stewards of the land. In most rural Nepali communities, the only health care options are struggling health centres and mobile “health camps,” where doctors from urban areas come once or twice a year to see rural patients. Doing so, she explains, will give them more time and energy; instead of traveling miles to the outdoor markets that sell produce, they can grow it at home.
For example, they’ve been given the right to manage and restore several tranches of government-owned forest land, and about 35% of the population has chosen to do so. Less than 25% of homes have biogas cookstoves—which run on fuel from livestock dung and human waste—while most people rely on less environmentally friendly wood or coal. In many developing countries, women spend more than eight hours a day just traveling to get water.
But a year later she could, after the forest was stripped clean by people stealing wood to sell.
This is essential in Nepal, where many women are single-parenting because their husbands have had to emigrate to find work.
Now she wants a healthy environment for her neighbours and country—and better opportunities for her children.
They toured the desert islands off the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula and they listened to presentations by more than a dozen experts, including several whose Baja California research is funded by the Society. WWF and CARE have provided her with guidance and services that helped her get to this point. This is especially true for women, who dominate rural society as many of the men travel abroad to find work. Before they arrive, community health volunteers like Devi share the most pressing needs of the villagers with the doctors to make the most of their time and ensure the correct medications will be available.
She took the initiative to start making her life and her surroundings more sustainable, and they seem eager not just to learn from Devi but to be as physically and mentally strong, as mindful of the environment, and as confident as she appears. After the meeting, Devi hands each of them several vegetable plants to grow in their yards. But when they have water filters, they don’t need to walk miles looking for a clean source. That year Devi helped create a group to maintain the forest, and the community successfully petitioned the Nepali government for the authority to plant trees there—and manage them for sustainable harvest.
Programs like the workshops Devi attended are part of the effort to increase women’s influence.
Given how connected women are to nature, they are the most knowledgeable about natural resources and their connection to better livelihoods.

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