recruiting boomers to protest climate change

An Arresting Way for Boomers to Protest

Published: February 13, 2013

Arguments about generational debt and how baby boomers might make amends usually revolve around Social Security and Medicare. But Lawrence MacDonald has another idea: get arrested, the way you did in the protests of your youth.


Mr. MacDonald is the founder of Fifty Over Fifty, a new group that hopes to recruit baby boomers to engage in civil disobedience to promote action on climate change. The name refers not only to their age range, but also to creating a cadre in each of the 50 states to support local protests and causes.

He is the vice president of communications and policy outreach for the Center for Global Development, a Washington organization, but Fifty Over Fifty is a personal, self-financed project. Born in 1954, he was too young to participate in the protests over civil rights or Vietnam in the 1960s, but “they were very much part of my consciousness growing up,” he said in a telephone interview.

He had felt increasing guilt that students were organizing most protests on climate change and carrying the risk of arrest. His thinking was crystallized by an essay by Bill McKibben, the environmental activist, who wrote: “It would be entirely fitting if the angry troublemakers came from the ranks of those of us who are older. For one thing, we’re the ones who caused the problem.”



48 arrested in #Sierra Club Pipeline sit-in including #Daryl Hannah & #Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Sierra Club ‏@sierraclub

From Sierra Club President Allison Chin: “Today We Take Part in Civil Disobedience for the #Climate  #nokxl

Democracy Now! ‏@democracynow
LIVE: “We have to use all tools of democracy to fight the #KeystoneXL project,” says @sierraclub‘s @bruneski.

Mark Whalan ‏@MWhalan
Sierra Club in its first act of civil disobedience in 120 years outside the White House on climate change.



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