May 13, 2019

“I didn’t just sit on the sidelines” | Millennial Climate Action Fund supports Cool Earth

Thanks to Maria Wardoku from the Millennial Climate Action Fund for her blog post on the moment she knew she had to take climate action. By coming together, this group of environmentally-concerned individuals have refused to let climate-doom take hold and are instead making a tangible, concrete commitment to protecting rainforest and mitigating carbon emissions from deforestation.

With more and more people choosing to preserve rainforest around the globe with Cool Earth, we’d love to know what drove you to make a difference to rainforest, and the future of our climate.

Get in touch and tell us your climate-action moment.

“One day, something snapped.

For years and years, I had been holding two things: in one hand, the knowledge that the climate is changing, and in the other hand, my desire to manage my money and my future as if it isn’t.

Millennial climate action fund over an image of Papua New Guinea Coastline rainforest

I managed to align some parts of my life with that knowledge of a changing climate—I regularly biked to work, I moved to a walkable neighbourhood, I bought local produce at the farmers market—while in other ways I was very much banking on the climate not changing, on living the rest of my life in a world like the one I grew up in, with stable politics and climate and currency and unlimited economic growth. I donated to all kinds of causes, but mostly I tried to save my money and invest it.

As the impacts of climate change became more and more obvious, I pushed them to a corner of my mind and tried not to absorb many of the details. The bees were dying, the oceans were acidifying, the droughts were intensifying, the wildfires were blazing, and it was all too much to handle. Especially when other crises like deportations, border concentration camps for children, and white supremacist violence seemed to arise daily.

One day, I went to an event about climate change where I had to sit and absorb the details. The corner of my mind where I kept climate change securely stored overflowed, and I suddenly began to appreciate that the world I’m saving for and planning for is not likely to be the world that is coming.

Aerial image of sunrise over rainforest canopy

Directing less than one percent of my income to fighting climate change while putting a much larger portion towards an imagined retirement after forty years of stock market growth at seven percent per year suddenly felt less than sensible.

What will I do with my retirement fund in a world dramatically altered by climate change?

Travel? Not too appealing a prospect if there are no coral reefs or glaciers left to visit, if most coastal cities are underwater, and countries around the world are awash in conflict. Will the money I’ve hoarded even have value, or will our government or currency collapse in the coming chaos? How will I look my future children in the eyes, if I spent this precious time hoarding dollars for myself, knowing that the next few years are crucial in mitigating the impact of climate change and preserving the viability of life on earth? After coming to this realization, it suddenly felt much more sensible to dedicate a more significant portion of my income to fighting climate change right now, in 2019.

So the time has now come to align my money with my values, and I’ve asked others to start doing that as well through the Millennial Climate Action Fund. I’m speaking primarily to those of my generation who have disposable income, and are currently either hoarding it as I did or spending it on luxury goods, to fund the fight against climate change. I’ve been surprised—and in some ways, not surprised–at the hundreds and thousands of dollars regular people are willing to give, because they have dealt with cognitive dissonance around climate change for so long, and because they want to align their actions with their beliefs.

People have told me they have nightmares about climate change, that they cry when they allow themselves to think about it, and that they feel paralyzed. While the purpose of the Millennial Climate Action Fund is to send dollars to the frontlines of the fight asap, it also exists to provide an emotional outlet for my generation to deal with this problem that is beyond what any generation has faced before. Instead of anxiously pushing climate change to a corner of their minds, Funders can look at the reality head on because they are taking a concrete, significant action—and that’s enormously freeing.

The founding group of funders decided to choose Cool Earth as one of two organizations we are funding this year.

The planet’s rainforests are amazingly efficient carbon sinks, and Cool Earth has a unique approach to preserving them that centers the communities who depend on and care for the rainforests.

Child from Papua New Guinea holding out a plant seedling

We’re not inordinately wealthy people, so the large sums we are giving are really meaningful to us, and we want them to make a meaningful impact. We think Cool Earth will put our money to good use.

So many things need to happen to get our planet on the right track, and we feel good being part of the change we wish to see. In forty years, we’ll have a bit less money in our retirement funds, but we will be able to say, I didn’t just sit on the sidelines watching the world burn. If you’d like to be able to say that with us, I hope you’ll join in today—we don’t have a minute to waste.”


Please log in to make a comment.

© Cool Earth 2021 | Site by Venn Creative