Elders Climate Action (ECA) is a non-partisan organisation dedicated to mobilising elders throughout the United States to address climate change while there is still a short window of time left before the world is plunged into a complete and utter climate disaster. The ECA was founded in 2014 by Paul Severance, a lifelong community organiser, who turned his attention to the impending climate crisis after he retired. Aware that collective action is the most effective method of forcing substantive policy changes, Severance envisioned the ECA becoming an organisation that would harness the wisdom and experience of age to advocate for economic and environmental justice. The prevailing ethos behind the ECA’s environmental advocacy work is simple: ‘to protect the wellbeing of our grandchildren and future generations.’
The ECA has several Chapters across the United States, which work on both a regional and national level to inspire decisive action to combat climate change. Defying any hackneyed stereotypes of older generations and their perceived relationship with technology, the ECA has a large and rather sophisticated social media presence. Across these social media channels, the ECA publishes climate change-related content and newsletters, announces ECA gatherings and protests, and hosts frequent webinars. Through these posts and events, the ECA stresses the urgency of transitioning from a fossil fuel-dependent world into a green economy. While it is imperative to support the development of new technologies and clean energy to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the ECA believes it is equally as important to reduce the social and political influence of fossil fuel companies. The ECA rallies against government subsidies of fossil fuel companies, and advocates for the removal of special interest money in political campaigns and the protection of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The ECA maintains that as long as corporate polluters can use money as leverage over politicians, the profits of a small elite will continue to be valued over the wellbeing of the majority of the world’s inhabitants and the planet.
The ECA also argues that the global influence of bad corporate actors perpetuates social inequality and environmental racism. Low income, minority, immigrant, and indigenous communities suffer disproportionately from a lack of access to clean water, pollution, and natural disasters. As such, the ECA seeks to pressure municipal, state, and federal governments, as well as businesses, to adopt economically and environmentally fair and conscientious policies to remedy society’s structural inequalities. The ECA supports the progressive and intersectional climate solutions laid out in the Green New Deal and the Thrive Agenda.
Aside from its important advocacy work, the ECA is devoted to community building. The ECA motivates its members to network with friends, family, and the wider community to create small teams that hold conferences, rallies, and even book club meetings addressing climate change. Something particularly special about the ECA’s framework is that it encourages its members to do fun and informative activities with their grandchildren to foster a keen interest in social issues while they are still young.
For more information on this inspiring organisation, please visit the ECA website: Elders Climate Action - We're Taking Action on Climate Change