Introducing Latitude

Every Friday, Atmos editor-in-chief William Defebaugh reflects on the week in climate and culture, sharing stories of insight and inspiration.

words by William Defebaugh

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Latitude (noun): 1. the angular distance of a place north or south of the earth’s equator, or of a celestial object north or south of the celestial equator, usually expressed in degrees and minutes. 2. scope for freedom of action or thought.

 

This week, we are proud to share the latest edition of Atmos. Volume 02: Latitude traces the lines that connect cultures around the world, from globalization and international efforts to stall the effects of climate change to personal freedom and expression. The new issue features contributions from acclaimed screenwriter and actor Brit Marling, award-winning journalist Behrouz Boochani, and visionary photographers including Jamie Hawkesworth, Charlie Engman, Pierre Debusschere, Max Farago, and more.

 

If a magazine is an atlas to explore, a number of fascinating latitudes appear on this one: a biodiverse sanctuary in the Middle East lensed by Jamie Hawkesworth, man-made glaciers in the Himalayas, a wall of trees in Africa, and insect farms in Southeast Asia that are already cultivating what might be the protein of the future. Others speak to the complex network of trade routes that span the globe, from sand mining to the second-hand clothing industry captured by Charlie Engman and Prince Gyasi in Ghana to an investigative exposition of slave labor practices in Malaysia.

 

The other meaning of latitude comes into focus in the issue as well: freedom of thought and action. Image-makers around the world—including Ngadi Smart, Ali Al Sharji, Ashish Shah, Ben Grieme, Yelena Yemchuk, Blommers & Schumm, Daniel Riera, Celeste Och, Leslie Zhang Jia Cheng, Dorian Ulises López Macías, and Derek Henderson—were asked to capture what latitude means to them through the lens of fashion, resulting in a collection of stories that challenge our expectations around identity and celebrate cultural diversity through a common medium of self-expression. In Belgium, Pierre Debusschere conjured a utopian future in which community comes together for the betterment of the planet—gathered in a special edition insert for the issue.

 

Speaking of coming together, Lynda Mapes and Max Farago joined the Lummi Nation, the indigenous peoples of the Salish Sea, in telling the story of an orca whale currently in captivity—the last surviving member of an entire generation that was brutally seized from the wild and sold to seaquariums—whose freedom is being fought for. And from another type of prison on the other side of the world, Behrouz Boochani wrote a poem on the condition that makes us human, and the ultimate currency of liberation: love.

 

As for the rest, the issue is yours to discover now. Happy exploring.

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