Leading climate change activist looks to mobilize older Americans

Prominent climate change activist Bill McKibben has started an organization that looks to get the older generations involved in activism for the environment.

He, along with co-founders Akaya Windwood, 65, and Vanessa Arcara, a millennial, founded Third Act, which soft-launched this week and will be fully functional beginning in 2022. The idea behind the organization is that “experienced adults” are the population with the most experience, assets, time, and descendants, making them the ideal candidates for activism. 

The ideas the organization is getting behind – climate change and voting rights – are not usually topics the older generations are as passionate about as Millennials and Gen Z. In fact, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation tend to be more conservative than the younger generations.

However, the website insists that the older generations can and should make a difference, saying, “Third Act is people over the age of 60 — ‘experienced Americans’ — determined to change the world for the better. We muster political and economic power to move Washington and Wall Street in the name of a fairer, more sustainable society and planet. We back up the great work of younger people, and we make good trouble of our own.”

McKibben, 60, has spent much of his life as an environmental activist. He told Yahoo News, “Third Act is for people like me — that is to say over the age of 60 — the baby boomers and the Silent Generation above them.” He claimed, “It’s very clear now that young people are — not just on climate, but on other important issues like civil rights — doing what needs to be done. Older people need to not just assign the hardest problems on the planet to 17-year-olds as their homework.”




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