Virginia 500 Spotlight: M. SANJAYAN
CEO, Conservation International, Arlington County
BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE TO GIVE TO OTHERS: To drive change, focus on what’s possible — despair doesn’t drive action; it drives apathy.
HOBBY/PASSION: If you’ve lived in Africa, you’ve seen plenty of elephants, rhinos and lions. The real fun is in birding. I’ve got a copy of “Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania” — I’ve checked off about half of the 1,114 species in that book.
WHAT MAKES ME PASSIONATE ABOUT MY WORK: Humanity will always depend on nature. One time, in Sierra Leone, I saw a young boy roasting a monkey over an open fire; he was fanning the flames with a signboard from the World Food Programme. It was a reminder that when people can no longer depend on governments, institutions or communities, they turn to nature — every time.
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT: Many years ago, I read Norman Maclean’s “A River Runs Through It” and moved to Missoula. I’ve been to many countries, but I’m always drawn back to Montana.
DID YOU KNOW? Sanjayan believes storytelling can create a “sense of urgency” around climate change. He is the host of “Changing Planet,” a PBS series monitoring the crisis around the world with an emphasis on local voices.