Meet Maria Finnegan, F4CR’s new Chief Development Officer

Meet Maria Finnegan, F4CR’s new Chief Development Officer

My name is Maria Finnegan, and I am new to Climate Restoration. My title is Chief Development Officer, and for all intents and purposes, I am a fundraiser. I am also an (occasional) athlete, a bit of a history buff, a wife, and, most importantly, a mother. That last label is still relatively new to me, but it has quickly become my most important job.. Until this one.

Like many environmentally conscious people, I suffer from eco-anxiety. Every day I listen to the news or read the paper, my heart sinks as I learn about the latest disaster caused by the warming of our planet.

Until recently, I thought we were all on the right path. On the micro level, my family shops locally and sustainably, my husband has a plug-in car, and we limit our use of plastics. We are eco-friendly, and according to what I had been hearing, that was enough. Zooming out, I read that companies were working to limit their emissions, and under the Paris agreement, we would all theoretically be net zero by 2050. Things were going to get fixed. The “grown-ups” were working on it. Everything was going to be OK.

But in the last few years, I have realized that we are not going to be ok, that we are not doing enough — and I am now one of the grown-ups who needs to fix this urgently. It had always been a dream of mine to leave big city life and return to New Hampshire, partially so that my future children could have the same carefree childhood I had — a life spent outside exploring the woods and waters of the Granite State. However, once we made the move back, it didn’t take long to observe the very real changes in our climate that had happened since I left. Our summers are hotter, our springs barely exist, and most painful for me as a northeast girl — we are losing our snow. It had been 26 years since I moved away, and things had gotten worse, not better. Everything was not going to be “ok.” A few months ago I looked into my son’s big beautiful brown eyes, and I found myself fearing for his future. What kind of world will he inherit? I remember thinking to myself, There has to be a way to fix this. There must be more we can do. But what?

And then by sheer luck (and a little help from LinkedIn) I learned about the Foundation for Climate Restoration, and the concept of restoring the climate. Honestly, it seemed like a wild idea at the time — people want to pull greenhouse gasses (GHGs) out of the atmosphere? How? But the more I read about it, the more it all made sense. Through the vision of great scientists, naturalists, innovators, and thinkers, solutions have been developed that will not just “mitigate” climate change, but restore our climate. By adopting these methods to remove legacy GHGs from the atmosphere, we have the tools to return our climate to the way it was before industrialization — a time when humans and animals flourished. Many solutions are already here and more are emerging daily; all we need to do is start utilizing them. As I made my way through FC4R’s Solution Series, I started to feel something that I hadn’t in a long time: hope. There is a real reason to feel good about the future of this planet, and I realized that I wanted to be a part of the solution.

The Foundation for Climate Restoration is an incredible organization, unlike any other. We exist to teach, to share, to advocate, and to galvanize the world about this very real potential to restore the climate. It is absolutely thrilling that we now have the methods to restore our climate, but somehow, they are still a big secret. People are still operating on the same information and guidelines that were widely accepted nearly 50 years ago. I mean, I was! But that is not enough, not even close.

The world needs to adopt a commitment to restore the climate. F4CR is changing the narrative and spreading the word so that we can make climate restoration not only a household term but one that is spoken daily at the highest levels of national and international government. We need the resources to make all of this happen because tools are useless without people to use them. That’s where I come in.

I joined this organization because I believe wholeheartedly in our mission, and I want to use my talents and skills to create the change needed to make climate restoration a reality. It is my hope — no, my goal — to restore the climate, not only for my son but also for myself. And to do that, I need to raise money to fund our incredible outreach and education programs, and to provide resources for our chapter groups and young leaders. So, let’s get to work!

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