Carol and Andy Phelps on the power of now in the fight against the climate crisis

Landscape with lake and mountains

Carol and Andy Phelps

Growing up in Southern California, Carol and Andy Phelps were surrounded by cities and freeways, and both enjoyed escaping to nearby Big Bear Mountain and the Sierra Nevadas. They met on a backpacking trip during college, and the rest is history. Having raised two daughters and transitioned to retirement, the couple is laser-focused on doing all they can now to fight climate change. This includes supporting WWF as Leadership Partners, engaging with other climate-focused organizations, and being climate activists in their own right.

Which aspects of WWF’s work resonate the most with you?

Carol: I always thought climate action was someone else’s job. It seemed like a problem for scientists or politicians or CEOs to solve—not ordinary people like us. Then Greta Thunberg came along, and all my excuses evaporated. If someone not even out of high school could draw the attention of the world to the climate crisis, surely I could do something. I decided to get involved. In December 2019, I attended the United Nations Climate Conference in Madrid, Spain. The US was conspicuously absent, except WWF-US was there, with their “We Are Still In” pavilion and an excellent lineup of speakers and programs to inform and inspire action. I was impressed with all that WWF was doing on the climate front—and still am.

Why did you choose to become WWF Leadership Partners?

Carol: After a lifetime of work in computer engineering and teaching, Andy and I are newly retired. We feel that leaving our children a habitable planet is much more important than a cushy retirement, so we’ve decided to substantially increase our giving to WWF. Addressing climate change is a time-critical issue. Every day counts. Because this is a global issue, we also support other organizations working on climate change and clean energy projects around the world—from Wisconsin to Uganda to Bhutan.

Are you hopeful about the future of nature?

Andy: A decade ago, I wasn’t very hopeful. But since then, there have been advances in clean technology and in our understanding of what it means to live sustainably. The first miracle has already occurred: Today we have access to things like inexpensive renewable energy and electric cars that are better than gas-powered vehicles. Now we just need a second miracle—all people banding together to combat climate change. We need to make our personal lives and our society “green” and sustainable, so we live in harmony with nature and our planet.

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