Greening Gray: Climate Action for an Aging World 

Public Policy Aging Rep (2017) 27 (1): 4-7.
Published: 08 February 2017
Sandy is a 68-year-old anthropologist. When I first talked to her about climate change, I thought it might be a quick conversation.

“How concerned are you about climate change?”

“I’m not.”

“Why not?”

“It’s an after-I’m-gone problem.”

An after-I’m-gone-problem. That phrase sounded familiar.

“It’s wonderful not caring about climate change.” “I’ll be long gone.” “It’s an after-I’m-dead problem.”  

Actors Cloris Leachman, Bill Cobbs, and Ed Asner sure get your attention in “Old People Don’t Care About Climate Change,” a video making the rounds on Funny or Die.

The satire is good, but the reality is better. Climate change is one issue that unites generations and cuts across party lines.

Like all good humor, the video clip works because of content and timing: It plays upon stereotypes of greedy geezers, and it assumes that we have all the time in the world to solve the problems. Neither is accurate.

See the full article here



Designing Climate Actions: Lessons from Stanford’s

When it comes to climate change, start with people, end with solutions.

Recently, I was asked to come up with a bumper sticker to describe human-centered design, the core strategy of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, the My bumper sticker: Start with people, end with solutions. This is also a roadmap for crafting next steps on climate change.

The first step in human-centered design is to start with people, establish deep empathy, understanding the needs of the people you are serving. Although empathy has its critics, empathy and equity are essential parts of the design process. Developing deep empathy for your end users helps you develop solutions that meet peoples’ needs.

I have spent the last several months talking with people, mainly older adults, about their views of climate change. Why older adults? They are living climate memory and keen observers. As one recently retired couple put it: When we were young, teachers talked about change over the next 100 years. It’s already here. We heard about them when we were younger; now we are seeing them when we’re older.” A retired national park scientist summed it up: “We are valuable observers at this point. Farmers know they no longer have bumble- bees to pollinate…They don’t have to have data. They just see it.”

Read the full post here






Climate Action Climate Change Graying Green

Picture this: A clean and healthy bay

Confronting climate change is hard work. A first step is to be clear about the scientific evidence: Climate change is real and happening now. But the next step — figuring out how to persuade people that we can do something to limit the damage — is not easy either.

Bay Area residents have an opportunity to do something positive on climate change through the Clean and Healthy Bay measure (Measure AA on the June 7 ballot), an important step forward on regional climate action. If passed, the measure will add $12 a year to the annual property tax in nine counties, providing funding for coastal flood protection by revitalizing bay wetlands, at half the cost of levees. The initiative is also attracting national attention as a possible model for regional adaptation to climate change. To succeed, though, the measure’s backers should listen to Will Rogers’ advice: “Peoples’ minds are changed through observation and not through argument.”

Read the full post at:


Aging Graying Green

Is there a Secret to Aging Well?

As the Baby Boomers reach and move beyond traditional retirement ages, they are increasingly concerned about issues of aging. The demographics are compelling. By 2050, the older portion of the population will increase from 7 to 16 percent of the world’s population, with the developed world leading the way with even higher percentages. Today’s older adults are pioneers of a landscape historically unprecedented. With possibly thirty years of a “longevity bonus,” many older adults are asking how best to use their years. While there are many social policy and political issues involved in managing an aging society, there are many things that individuals can do throughout their lives to prepare for aging. Lifestyle choices reflecting aging accelerators or decelerators will impact the pace and outcomes of aging processes. This essay draws lessons from several books in the fields of gerontology (the study of the normal processes of aging) and geriatrics (the study of diseases that often accompany aging) to answer a simple question: How shall we age?

Read the full post at:


Climate Action Climate Change Graying Green John Glenn

What can John Glenn’s second space flight teach us about climate action?

John Glenn’s second flight may hold some important lessons for the US and the world in coping with climate change in a time of an aging population. It may be especially helpful for older adults who are asking ourselves what difference we can make in climate change.

Read the full post on John Glenn’s second space flight on LinkedIn.

Climate Action Climate Change Graying Green

The Conversation: Older adults and climate action

At the local, state and national level, political leaders should engage older voters on climate issues, from measures needed to adapt to climate-related changes, such as responses to severe weather events, to support for clean power regulations from the EPA.

Get the full post “Older adults:  an untapped, renewable resource on climate action” on The Conversation.


Climate Change Graying Green

LinkedIn: Robert Redford and the Pope

How are Robert Redford & the Pope Alike?

Robert Redford and Pope Francis. At first glance, the two seem to have little in common. But both represent a growing movement I call Graying Green: Climate Action for an Aging World.

Read the full post  Robert Redford and the Pope on LinkedIn.

Graying Green Hurricane Katrina

Pacific Standard: A Lesson Unlearned from Hurricane Katrina

A Lesson Unlearned from Hurricane Katrina: The elderly are still the most vulnerable to weather events

Almost half of the deaths immediately following Hurricane Katrina were among older adults over the age of 75.

Read the entirety of A Lesson Unlearned from Hurricane Katrina on Pacific Standard.

Climate Change Graying Green

CNN: Aging population could drive Obama’s climate change policies

The world’s population is aging at the very time that immediate action on climate change has become crucially important. And we ignore the shared link between these two global patterns at our own risk.

Read the full post, “Aging population could drive Obama’s climate change policies” on CNN.