Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler writes about the experience that led him to start Mongabay more than 20 years ago.Since then Mongabay has transitioned from “a guy sitting in his pajamas in his apartment” to a nonprofit media platform that has 500 contributors in 70 countries, produces original reporting in five languages, and is read by millions of people a month.Rhett lays out Mongabay’s vision for the next 20 years. Nearly 25 years ago, I had an experience that dramatically altered my life’s course, and ultimately inspired me to establish Mongabay, which with more than 4 million monthly readers is now one of the world’s most widely read conservation news publications. When I was in high school, I had the great fortune to visit a spectacular rainforest in Malaysian Borneo. Some of my fondest memories are from this forest: hiking under the tall trees, swimming in crystal-clear creeks, and appreciating the beauty of its creatures. I will always cherish a particular moment from that visit. After a long hike, I sat next to a deep pool. I pulled off my boots and cooled my feet, while listening to the drone of cicadas and soothing rush of the creek. A few minutes later, the chorus of the forest was interrupted by the sound of rustling branches. I looked up to see a male orangutan passing above. Deep maroon in color and with fully developed cheek pads, the orangutan was making his way toward a cluster of round yellow fruit when he paused to stare down at me. The gaze only lasted several seconds, but I’ll carry that memory for a lifetime. Back home in California, I kept in touch with a biologist I met on that trip. A few months later, I was devastated to get the news that the very forest I fell in love with was to be pulped for paper.