View full video presentation of Dennis Dimick’s Oct. 14, 2019 lecture.

Former National Geographic Editor to Outline Human’s Impacts on the Atmosphere

October 1, 2019

A former executive environmental editor for National Geographic magazine will speak at Kansas State University on Oct. 14 about the effects of modern lifestyles on the atmosphere, and what it may mean for the world’s future.

Dennis Dimick, who worked at National Geographic for 35 years, will present, “Living in the Human Age,” a fast-moving talk and slide show that looks at the unique challenges humans face in a world where the population is growing and the demand for food is greater than ever.

The public talk is the latest in the university’s Henry C. Gardiner Global Food Systems lecture series. It begins at 7 p.m. in K-State’s McCain Auditorium, and admission is free.

“This talk attempts to speak to the idea that, especially since the middle of the last century, we have seen a rapid uptick in human population,” Dimick said. “Our use of hydro-carbon fossil energy from coal, oil and gas has ramped up dramatically and all of that has contributed to the need for and the ability to produce massive amounts of food.”

“For many years, I have given talks and lectures on the challenges that we are facing with climate change, and that has become an incredibly politicized term that has gotten in the way of people understanding the magnitude of the challenges we face because people are retreating into their tribal world views and are incapable of finding common ground. So, I have tried to reframe that whole idea into something much bigger.”

While at National Geographic, Dimick helped to produce numerous features that brought attention to the issues of changes humans were making to the atmosphere. In 2014, the magazine published a “Future of Food” series on global food security, and a project to explore the effects of coal for energy, and on long-term effects of drought and snowpack loss in the United States.

Dimick says he hopes to bring context to issues related to climate.

“I think primarily the idea is to help us understand where we fit into the world as it is today and the trajectory we are on, not just where we are at this moment,” he said. “Then the question becomes, well, each one of us as an individual as a citizen and a contributor to society, can make choices. It’s never too late. Maybe we should have started 20 years ago–that may have been the best day–but then the next best day is today.

“First you have to understand how all these pieces of the puzzle fit together, where we are on the arc of history and where we’re heading, and then what might we do not only individually but collectively–as communities, universities, cities, states and maybe even one day on a national level–to begin to have a coherent, intelligent response to how we’re going to deal with this.”

Dimick and National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson, who lives in Lindsborg, Kansas, will also be speaking with student and campus groups on Oct. 14. They will host a public photo show and gallery discussion at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. that is also free and open to the public.

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