Benje grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills, as the grandson of Southern sharecroppers and farmers.
He studied business and African American history at UC Berkeley before working as a consultant in New York, Kenya, South Africa, India and Pakistan. He completed an MBA from Stanford and moved back to Pakistan to set up an education venture called Amal Academy.
He ran Amal for seven years in Lahore and transitioned back to New York, where he cofounded Understory, a non-profit focused on forest restoration, and Outlandish, a hiking brand helping people reconnect with nature.
He’s a Public Voices Fellow on the Climate Crisis with Yale’s Program on Climate Change Communication and has been published in The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Longreads, Backpacker, Los Angeles Review of Books and elsewhere. He’s working on his first novel and is represented by Mina Hamedi (Janklow & Nesbit).