A Beacon of Hope: My Reflection on Leading TCI
By Jono Anzalone
A Beacon of Hope
Jono Anzalone, outgoing Executive Director of TCI, with incoming Executive Director Leia Lowery
The annual UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28) was recently held, boasting a record number of attendees, including a significant representation of youth. This occurrence is just one of the many paradoxes I’ve encountered during my three years as the Executive Director of the Climate Initiative (TCI). TCI stands as a beacon of hope, empowering youth, amplifying voices, and engaging educators worldwide in climate action. However, this hopeful mission paradoxically contrasts with alarming scientific evidence that we are facing a tipping point for irreparable harm to our planet.
There are days when I wake up utterly inspired, witnessing the impactful mission of TCI, only to be followed by moments of despair as communities most affected by climate change continue to suffer. This dualistic approach to living in the 21st century demands tenacity, courage, and, most importantly, a steadfast beacon of hope. The past three years leading the Climate Initiative have constituted the most meaningful “work” of my career. Though I continue to grapple with climate anxiety, the contrasting hope emanating from across the globe keeps me motivated.
As we approach the end of 2023, I am reminded of the wise words shared by a Red Cross volunteer I met during my early humanitarian career in the 1990s. When asked about her dedication to volunteer work during a flood deployment in the Midwest, she imparted invaluable wisdom:
“You’ve got to give yourself to life before you really live. It’s foolish hoarding love or wealth; those lose who never give.”
As I transition to the TCI board on January 1 and pass the baton to Leia Lowery, a visionary who started TCI programming and made it into what it is today, I want to express my gratitude to each and every one of you for being incredible supporters of the TCI mission.
As we navigate the paradoxes of the world before us, let us continue to embody the spirit of abundance and remain steadfast in our commitment to a sustainable and hopeful future.