An open letter from our CEO, Dr. M. Sanjayan

© Shawn Heinrichs

At Conservation International, we have always considered ourselves and everyone associated with us as family. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, this sense of community is more important and meaningful than ever. I know this is a difficult time for all of us. I feel it with my family, my parents and loved ones who live abroad, far from us.

Conservation International’s mission has never seemed more important: To protect nature so that people and the planet thrive together. We know that the significant and unrelenting challenges facing nature will not stop for this pandemic, some will accelerate— and we will continue our work with focus and vigor to deliver on the promises that so many have helped support.

These unsettling days are also a wake-up call, a firm reminder that human well-being is inextricably linked to biodiversity and the health of our planet — whether it's climate change, forest fires, emergent tropical diseases, pandemics, loss of freshwater, etc. — and saving nature is really about saving ourselves.

Over our 33-year history, Conservation International has faced many challenges — though nothing quite like this. Our approach in the face of adversity has never been to retreat, to give in to fear and distrust, but rather to find a way forward, guided by science, acting with swiftness and compassion. Now we will do the same. Although we are in perilous waters, we are confident that we will, as a community, support one another and emerge stronger.

Now is the time to take a deep breath, center ourselves and recommit to our mission to protect nature for people. From there, as always, our work continues. We are here for each other and Conservation International is here for you.

Dr. M. Sanjayan is the chief executive officer of Conservation international. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates. Donate to Conservation International.

Cover image: A forest in New Caledonia (© Shawn Heinrichs)

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