This is a call to action. It’s time for baby boomers to let go of the feeling that we’ve done our job and now is the time to relax.
Whether you realize it or not, our generation’s collective way of life makes our planet unlivable. Now that we know, we can’t just look to the younger generations and pretend it’s their problem.
If you were one of the millions who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s like me, you might be nearing retirement and can’t wait to get to that to-do list. You’ve probably worked hard your whole life: your kids (if you had any) have grown up, you’ve saved as much as you could in your 401(k), and now you can’t wait to relax for the next 20 or so years. so many years and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Please don’t do this.
The world needs you and the rest of our generation now more than ever. Now is not the time for you to indulge yourself.
No matter how hard we’ve worked, no matter how diligent we’ve been, if we’re in our late 50s to early 70s, our way of life has benefited from a way of life that n was ever sustainable.
Although many of us in the insurance industry have spent our entire careers assessing risk, far too many of us have missed the biggest risk of all by not properly assessing the impact of climate change. .
We have benefited from a growing GDP that relied on the burning of fossil fuels, and now we face the implications of all that extra carbon and methane in our atmosphere.
The signs are everywhere you look: wildfires in Europe and the United States, famine in Africa, rivers drying up in the American West and Portugal, crops lost due to heat in India, melting ice caps, sustained record heat in Britain.
I accept the consensus of the scientific community on this issue and remain convinced of its importance beyond a shadow of a doubt. Although I am not a scientist, I am someone who still has a respect for objective reality.
Many of us who have successfully built our retirement savings over the past few decades have benefited mightily from the profits made on our portfolios in the same industries that are among the top contributors to global warming.
Not everyone has had the luxury of having a retirement nest egg. That’s why it’s incumbent on those of us who have the resources to do our part.
How you can do your part
I believe you can’t ask someone else to do something you haven’t already done yourself.
I pledge to do all I can – both personally and professionally – to educate myself about hard truths, talk about global warming, write about it at every opportunity, and share how the changes I have brought to my life haven’t diminished it one bit.
Renewable energy: Between the solar power I’ve had on my house since 2007 and a recently installed battery system, my house produces enough electricity almost every day to power two houses.
Vegetable food: I became vegan about a year ago. No matter how you look at it, the calories provided by meat and dairy simply cannot justify the energy it takes to produce them.
Organic and local foods: As much as possible, I eat locally produced foods. Also, I haven’t used a pesticide or herbicide in my garden for 25 years.
Reduce unnecessary travel: I haven’t flown for pleasure in 10 years. At the same time, I drove an average of 2,000 miles per year with my car. In the organization I lead, we have imposed drastic travel restrictions.
Walking: Whenever I can, I walk. Yes, it takes longer, but I also maintained excellent health while doing it.
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Clothes: I dry my clothes and usually only buy second-hand clothes. Recently I was complimented on my retro style — but the person didn’t realize it’s the same clothes I’ve worn for 30 years!
I’m doing much more than that to reduce my personal carbon footprint, and I invite you all to join me in finding ways to do that too, but these types of personal actions alone aren’t enough.
Use your voice
The senior and near-senior demographic is powerful. We must use our voices.
Global warming is not political, no matter how hard some try to make it so. It’s a problem of such magnitude that it forces all of us – businesses, nonprofits, governments and individuals – to treat it like the existential threat that it is.
In addition to reducing our own carbon footprint, we must use our wallets and our voices to force urgent action now to get us out of this addiction to fossil fuels.
The generation of our parents united to put all their resources at the service of a world war. Our challenge is so much greater.
At 70, I’m fit and healthy and I’ve learned to slow down and smell the roses. Now let’s do our part to make sure there are plenty of roses and bees to visit, now and in the future. There is not a moment to lose.
If we don’t do everything in our power, each of us, and collectively, to reduce our carbon footprint and raise awareness of this existential threat, we might as well tattoo ourselves on our foreheads as we don’t care about our children or our grandchildren.
I know that’s not how you feel, so let’s go!
Do you want to join me? &