Elders Climate Action collage
Photos: Courtesy of Elders Climate Action.

Decades ago, the civil rights and anti-war movements propelled many young people toward political activism. One of those people was Grady McGonagill.

McGonagill: “I had been a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War in the late sixties.”

In recent years, he says, his activism was reborn.

McGonagill: “I decided I was a conscientious objector to climate change.”

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McGonagill founded the Massachusetts Chapter of Elders Climate Action, a grassroots movement of senior citizens pushing for climate-friendly energy policies.

In addition to marches and protests, members lobby for climate action at the local, state, and national levels.

McGonagill: “Elders have a higher percentage of regular voters than other demographics, so we get the attention of legislators.”

The group also reaches out to senior centers in diverse communities to educate and recruit people who have never been involved in climate action before.

McGonagill says with decades of life experience and a concern for the world they pass on, elders can be a formidable force.

McGonagill: “As an elder, I want to be able to look my daughter in the eye and say I have become aware of the threat of climate change and I’m doing all that I can to protect you from the effects of that.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

Daisy Simmons

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...