- Issue: Spring 2019
Tom McInerney spent the early years of his career as an engineer and scientist at Apple and then as an engineer at Sony. Now, as an entrepreneur and a member of WWF’s National Council, his passion for conservation and technology directly influences how he invests his time—and resources. “Our planet is finite and precious. Its protection should be our top priority. For the sake of my daughter—and all future generations—I’m committed to doing what I can to protect life on Earth.”
What keeps you focused on conservation?
I love to scuba dive, and during a recent trip to Bali, we drove one hour outside of town to dive. Far from human development, the water there was pristine—crystal clear, turquoise, and teeming with life. Back in the city, however, the contrast was striking; the ocean water was gray-brown and plastic trash was more visible than aquatic life. Sadly, we don’t really have to go far to see what we’re doing to nature. Our impact is undeniable.
Has your passion for nature influenced you as an entrepreneur?
Definitely. I invest in technology companies that I think can make a positive impact on the planet—ridesharing, electric scooters, green energy. When it’s a sound investment and makes the world a better place, it’s a good feeling. But the impact of those technologies is limited. They are not a magic fix. We’re making so many advances that improve our quality of life. Where does the environment fit into the equation? The planet is a finite resource, and we keep borrowing from nature. It’s unsustainable. That’s why organizations like WWF are so important. They provide an invaluable counterbalance and give nature a seat at the table.
How does WWF’s work fit into your philanthropy portfolio?
WWF is effective because they approach conservation challenges from multiple angles, advocating for change at the highest levels of government while also implementing on-the-ground solutions in communities. It is this approach—and WWF’s passionate, hard-working, and intelligent team members, who work toward solutions every day—that gives me hope. I believe WWF can and will save charismatic species like rhinos, elephants, and tigers, and I’m proud to do my small part to make their work possible.