Twenty-five years ago, as Ivan Gayler flew over the Amazon with his daughter, he saw rainforest burning. Entire sections of lush forest had been torched, cut down and cleared away for timber, agriculture, and oil. The sight brought him to tears: one of the world’s last great ecosystems was disappearing before his eyes. At that moment Ivan decided to act. “If not me, then who?” he asked himself. Nature and Culture International was born of that question. “If not me, then who?” It was created from one man’s determination to make a difference for the planet. But the organization grew and succeeded from another of Ivan’s insights: local and indigenous people are key to conservation success. Conservation must come from and support the local people who depend on these forests and the resources they provide. Twenty years later, Nature and Culture has protected more than 15 million acres of tropical forests and biodiverse ecosystems in South America and Mexico. These forests conserve countless plant and animal species. They provide clean drinking water for millions of people. They preserve the home and cultural traditions of indigenous peoples. And they help mitigate climate change. The Amazon alone stores and sequesters more carbon than any other ecosystem in the world.