Humanity's patterns on the land come in three flavors in this picture by Dennis Dimick (@ddimick) from the Permian Basin of west central Texas near Rankin, the seat of Upton County. While roads outline a triangular – almost arrowhead – shape, a second, and newer layer of rectangles and lines connecting reveals the drilling pads and paths for oil and gas exploration, a process known these days as fracking. And last we can see the older, enduring circle and rectangle of agricultural crops that re-green each spring, when it rains or water is added from irrigation. Added together, this trilogy of patterns one upon another reveal key activities of humanity on earth: getting around, finding energy, and growing food. A picture of the #anthropocene, or Human Age, if ever there was one. Signs that are right before our eyes, if we are willing to look out the window and read them, in this April, 2 2016 view from a passenger airplane enroute from Washington DC to San Diego.
Dennis Dimick served as executive environment editor at National Geographic magazine and was a picture editor at the National Geographic Society for more than 35 years until his retirement in December 2015. He guided a variety of major magazine projects including a special issue on global freshwater in April 2010, a 2011 series on global population, and the 2014 Future of Food series on global food security. Dimick co-organized the Aspen Environment Forum from 2008-2012, and continues to regularly present slide show lectures on global environmental issues. For 19 years he has been a faculty member of the Missouri Photo Workshop, and in 2013 received the Sprague Memorial Award from the National Press Photographers Association for outstanding service to photojournalism. He currently serves as a board member for the Society of Environmental Journalists. He grew up on an Oregon farm, and Dimick holds degrees in agriculture and agricultural journalism from Oregon State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.