Conservationist on climate action: ‘Pessimists never get anything done’

© Luana Luna

Conservation International CEO M. Sanjayan stressed the importance of remaining optimistic in the face of climate catastrophe in an interview today with the public-affairs television network C-SPAN. 

"Pessimists never get anything done,” Sanjayan said, telling viewers disheartened by dismal daily headlines and devastating reports to look to the future — and to be a part of changing it. “We are all part of the problem, but we can also be part of the solution. That’s what it requires to really take action on climate change.”

During the interview, Sanjayan addressed critical environmental issues from deforestation to the proliferation of plastic in the ocean. His answers highlighted trailblazing conservation strategies and laws being passed around the world, from Colombia’s new carbon tax to California’s proposed Tropical Forest Standard, a plan for allowing tropical forest protection initiatives into the state’s cap-and-trade system.

Fear for Earth’s future should instead be channeled into determination to make a difference: “I am optimistic because I can see human ingenuity,” said Sanjayan. “I see young people marching in the streets. I see our ability to imagine a better future and at the end of the day, I know we are on the right side of history. Climate change provides a great challenge, but a great opportunity for humans, as well.”

Watch the full interview here

Dr. M. Sanjayan is the CEO of Conservation International. Kiley Price is a staff writer for Conservation International.

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