Tim and Annette Ryan met nearly 50 years ago at the University of California at Berkeley "We did small things while raising our family," says Annette,"recycling and doing our part. But climate change wasn't really a priority in my thinking until our family began to grow." As the next generation arrived— they now have ten grandchildren, aged 7-14—Annette began to think in terms of their future and what legacy she and Tim would leave.
For many years, Tim worked in the world of finance. An avid follower of Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program, he was eager to aid the program’s work in any way he could. “I’m not a scientist,” says Tim, “but I can support the science-based work of the Climate Recovery Partnership. I’m not an attorney, but I can help fund the Environmental Law Program and the litigation they pursue. These kinds of partnerships—with science, legal, and business professionals—will help us get the job done. And we can partner with other environmental organizations, taking advantage of each of our unique strengths and areas of expertise.”
Tim had his moment of clarity on global warming when he saw An Inconvenient Truth and heard Al Gore ask: “Future generations may well have occasion to ask themselves, ‘What were our parents thinking? Why didn’t they wake up when they had a chance?’”
“We’ve always been told we have time—but it’s imminent,” Annette stresses. “We are losing critical time globally. It’s empowering to me to act now and not wait, thinking that the government or someone else will take care of it.” Tim adds, “The key word is integrity. When you give a significant amount of money, you want to know how it is being used. There’s a level of trust with Sierra Club that runs deep for us. We feel fortunate to be able to play a role with the Club in saving the planet for future generations.”