Propelling the Climate Restoration Movement Forward — Meet F4CR’s New CEO

It was an extraordinary honor to be selected last month as the new CEO of the Foundation for Climate Restoration. Before taking the job, I talked extensively with my 12-year-old daughter Lulu about the organization and what it stands for. She didn’t think twice about endorsing climate restoration; to her, it obviously needs to be done, and with great urgency. What motivates me personally about F4CR’s mission is that, when we are successful, we will have restored the climate to pre-industrial levels of CO2 before the time Lulu is the age I am today.

Before joining F4CR, I spent roughly 15 years working for the elimination of nuclear weapons on the national and international level, so I am comfortable working on seemingly impossible issues at the highest levels.

I was part of the core civil society team at the United Nations that negotiated the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017, an achievement for which our campaign received the Nobel Peace Prize that year. Our success in achieving this treaty was the result of short-, medium-, and long-term strategies to engage activists, researchers, frontline communities, governments, and many more stakeholders. At all times, we kept the needs and voices of the victims of nuclear weapons testing and use at the forefront of our work. A specific provision in the treaty that I’m particularly proud of is one which calls on countries to provide assistance to victims of nuclear weapons and to restore the environment of places damaged by nuclear weapons production or use.

From 2014–17, I led the civil society effort to support the Republic of the Marshall Islands in its lawsuits against the nine nuclear-armed nations at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and separately against the United States in US Federal Court. I built an international coalition of over 100 groups to serve as allies and megaphones in the Marshall Islands’ courageous effort, and I provided logistical and organizational support to the team of pro bono international lawyers arguing the cases in The Hague. Throughout this process, I had the privilege of working side by side with Tony de Brum, who was the Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands. His unshakeable dedication to both peace and climate action — and his effective pursuit of both goals — continues to fuel my hope for the future.

What I’ve learned from my cumulative experience in changing the norms and laws deeply entrenched in systems is that, more than anything, meaningful results are indeed achievable. But success cannot and will not happen without innovation, leadership, and a people-centered approach. This is why I’m so inspired by F4CR’s thought leadership and partnerships with some of the best thinkers and doers who are actively making change.

I have a great deal of hope that we will succeed in our mission. This is not some kind of pie-in-the-sky hope. This is realistic hope. It is based on the fact that technologies already exist that can help us restore the climate, and more are on their way. The fact that we have people of all ages, from many backgrounds and parts of the world, already stepping up to lead, and who are demanding that government officials follow their initiative, is exciting. In just a few weeks with F4CR, I can see that our movement’s leadership is in very good hands, from youth to scientists to business leaders and so many others.

It is no longer acceptable to ignore the climate crisis or pretend that we’ll just figure it out later. The innovations are here, and the processes are improving every day. We can, must, and will act decisively as individuals and as a society to permanently solve this crisis. I’m privileged to be on this journey with you all.

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Rick Wayman is CEO of the Foundation for Climate Restoration. You can read his full bio here.