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January 12, 2014: Climbing Buildings, Hunting Poachers and More

Join host National Geographic Weekend host Boyd Matson and his guests as they climb the world’s tallest buildings, ski with the sport’s inventors, give new life to Christmas trees, seek sea life at the bottom of the ocean, discover the unicorn, protect rhinos by hunting for poachers, kayak blind through the Grand Canyon, prioritize protection plans for endangered species, and track the world’s underground water reserves.

New Iraqi National Park May Be a Game Changer

The recently announced new national park in Iraq marks one small step for conservation, but one huge leap for the region.

Meet Some of the Rare Cultures Sustained by Iraqi Kurdistan’s Rivers

NG Young Explorer Julia Harte and team member Anna Ozbek interview members of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Yazidi, Mandean, and Armenian populations about their relationship with the rivers that traverse northern Iraq — and their fears about future water security.

Will Shrinking Rivers Force Kurdistan’s Nomads to Abandon Their Lifestyle?

Kurdish and Arabic nomads, a dwindling population in Iraqi Kurdistan, may be forced to move to cities if river levels in the region continue to decline. NG Young Explorer Julia Harte and team member Anna Ozbek report on the situation through text, photos, and video.

Two Views of the Tigris: A Syrian and an Iraqi Kurd Discuss Turkey’s Dams

Near the point where Turkey, Iraq, and Syria meet, two villages face each other across the Tigris River. On one side lies the Iraqi Kurdish village of Faysh Khabur, home to a Chaldean Christian community for more than fourteen centuries. On the other bank sits Khanik Village, another ancient Chaldean community — but one that lies in Syria.

Is Every Civilization Destined to Collapse?

What does it mean for a civilization to collapse? Are we destined to follow suit? Archaeologists working around the world conclude a week-long conference with their perspectives.

Why Did Ancient Civilizations Build Such Huge Monuments?

Why did ancient civilizations begin with the building of such huge monuments? Archaeologists working around the world share their reflections.

What Is “Civilization”?

After days of presentations on five of the world’s great ancient civilizations, archaeologists from sites all around the world debate and discuss the meaning of civilization and what we can learn today from the lessons of the past.

Goldman Winner Restores Iraq’s Marshes

I recently attended the award ceremony for the 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize winners in Washington, D.C. Six people, one from each of the inhabited continents of the planet, was honored for their tireless conservation work. I have followed the Goldman awards since my days at E Magazine, and each year I am inspired and uplifted…

8,000 Years After its Advent, Agriculture is Withering in Southern Iraq

As temperatures in Southern Iraq approached 52 degrees Celsius (126°F) last July, Habib Salman, a 52-year-old farmer in the Al-Islah township, shot himself in the head, leaving behind an eleven-member family. The stream on which their farm relied had recently dried up, jeopardizing his family’s survival.

In Cradle of Civilization, Shrinking Rivers Endanger Unique Marsh Arab Culture

NG Young Explorer Julia Harte documents the culture of the Marsh Arabs of Southern Iraq through text and photos, as well as a video shot and edited by team member Anna Ozbek.

Enki’s Gift: How Civilization Bubbled From the Waters of Mesopotamia

NG Young Explorer Julia Harte examines the historical importance of water in Mesopotamia’s cultures and religions through text and photos, as well as a video shot and edited by team member Anna Ozbek.

Lessons in Sustainability and Solidarity From Ancient Mesopotamia

World leaders in archaeology discuss the ancient development of Mesopotamian society and the very practical lessons and inspiration it holds for us today.

Drought and Dams in Biblical Garden of Eden

NG Young Explorer Julia Harte begins her expedition northward along the Tigris River, where she will examine the impacts of Turkey’s Ilısu Dam, with initial glimpses at water issues in Southern Iraq and an introduction to the heated controversy surround the dam.

Resurrecting Eden: How Iraq’s marshlands are coming back

Iraq’s southern marshlands, home of the Marsh Arab people, were once famous for their quiet waterways, wooden boats, reed homes, diversity of fish and flocks of migratory birds. Many biblical scholars believe the marshlands could be the site of the Garden of Eden. “In 1991, shortly after the first Persian Gulf war ended, Saddam Hussein’s government, angered by Marsh Arab…