Conservationist to ‘Curious’ listeners: ‘Don’t sit this one out’

© Lucas Bustamante

Jonathan Van Ness is curious about conservation — in particular, what it’s going to take to get more people engaged.

“What is it?” the celebrated co-host of the wildly popular TV show “Queer Eye” asked Conservation International CEO M. Sanjayan in the latest episode of his podcast, “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness.” “Is it going to be until … all of our forests are on fire and we’re actively swimming in a world that is nothing but ocean?”

Sanjayan indicated that for some, the problems of climate breakdown and environmental destruction are not theirs to fix.

“There is a general sense that someone else will take care of this problem,” he said. “We need everyone in the game. Don’t sit this one out.” 

“You cannot ever think about sustainability as something that is either a personal choice or companies’ or governments’ [responsibility],” he continued. “It has to be all three.”

As bushfires ravage Australia, killing at least 25 people and an estimated 1 billion animals, they have added more fuel to concerns about climate breakdown. Coming a few short months after the Amazon saw one of its most devastating fire seasons in recent years, burning more than 125,000 hectares (310,000 acres) of land in August alone.

“We are approaching a tipping point [in the Amazon],” Sanjayan said during the interview. “There is new science which says that you don’t have to destroy all of the Amazon for it to disappear. If you destroy 20 percent of it — and we are getting close to that — it changes the climate … and converts the rainforest into savanna.”

For 45 colorful minutes, the two discussed everything from climate action to the fate of the Amazon to Bruce Springsteen. Listen to the full episode here.

Kiley Price is a staff writer at Conservation International. Want to read more stories like this? Sign up for email updates here. Donate to Conservation International here.

Cover image: The Amazon rainforest in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador. (© Lucas Bustamante)


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