Grandmothers to save the world

Went to the climate action strike today to support the kids. (Then got in my car and drove home. Hypocrite.)

In my community, 1,000 or more young people skipped class to march and speak out for a planet that won’t be toast in their lifetime. Not a lot to ask, really.


There were plenty of adults too, so many they had to be reminded not to squeeze the younger generation out, what with it being their rally and all. In scanning the crowd, it occurred to me the majority of adults had something in common.

They looked like grandparents.


Those of us with little people in our lives are worried. Not for us, not even for our kids. But as we experience weather extremes – in my part of the world, forest infernos have become a summer reality and damaging winter storms are brutal – we grandparents harbour persistent kernels of worry.

My four little ones were together in one place in January, when the Australian contingent left +42 degrees to join the Canadian contingent in -29 Ottawa. During those two weeks, Australia was in the throes of a heat wave so severe, asphalt was melting and flying foxes were dropping dead from trees.

I told my girls, I don’t know what I can do but I feel I need to do something. Seems we can’t count on the generosity of corporations to care for the planet.

You guys are busy, I said. You’ve got full careers and all that comes with being busy parents.

But I’ve got time. And I think grandmothers have a role in saving the world.

Their advice: Write about it, Mom. See if you get uptake.

So here I am. Can we start a conversation about how we, baby boomers and beyond, can make a difference?

In my dreams, I picture a groundswell of older marchers, speakers, and letter writers – people doing whatever they can to call on big business, big government and big decision makers to grow a conscience. I see people with love in their heart and a real desire to do something – anything – to make a difference.

I don’t come from a family of activists.

I come from a family of journalists; a breed that reports on marchers and banner wavers, doesn’t join them.

But I don’t think changing the world should fall to children. Grandmothers and fathers, aunts, uncles and anyone who loves a child has a role.

I’m looking for feedback.

What do you say, friends?

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Jayne B. says:

    Heart felt words Gery. It takes a lot to get us boomers off our comfy couches but as you say, it has to start somewhere. Thank you for giving us a poke!


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      I think it’s wrong that kids feel they have to fix the planet. You in, Jayne? Letters, marching, whatever?


  2. Robyn Rose says:

    So my question is: When are all the activists going to Brazil, India and China to “save the planet” and “save the future”? That’s where the biggest problem is.


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Can’t disagree. But I think many of the biggest corporate GHG creators are headquartered in our part of the world. We can do what we can do where we live.


  3. rick stevens says:

    Gery: I have been thinking about you and Graham of course. I will contact you soon. Always something going on! Ricky


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Yes, please.


  4. Sheila says:

    I’m very keen on your idea. While I do attend protests, write letters and donate to organizations, my involvement in climate action seems disjointed. I could really get behind a grandparent group. Lead on!


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Sheila, thanks for picking up on this. I suspect the first step is to spread the idea. You ok with sharing this with the ask that people respond? With feedback and interest, we go from there.
      All I know is, doing nothing is not the answer.


  5. marilynatlegacytelusnet says:

    Great as always, Dubby! You are on a role. Interesting to see what kind of uptake you get. Love!

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Thanks, Mim. Getting some uptake. All I know is doing nothing is not the answer.


  6. lindajbaker says:

    Yes. We crones, lots of wisdom and ways to do things. Not just protesting, writing letters. Time to gather the women, shift the energy.


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      You bet! Thanks, Linda. You okay with sharing this? And if you’ve got ideas…maybe start with a meeting of like mindeds….


  7. Carol Vincent says:

    Gery, I’ve been thinking about this. Not crazy about the grandmother angle — partly because I’m not one (and apparently will never be one if my son doesn’t get on with it!) but also partly because the ‘Raging Grannies’ have been around for ages. Unfortunately in our society, elder protests are not taken seriously. I am working on David Suzuki’s Top 10 ways to stop climate change (see his website) and I also recommend you get a copy of Elizabeth May’s book, “How to save the world in your spare time” if you want to be an activist. Meanwhile I’ll be plugging away in my corner for my non-existent grandchildren. : )


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      A thoughtful response, Carol. Thank you. A Raging Granny is not how I see myself. In my most outrageous dreams I imagine a global movement of older people (grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, friends of friends) who are making so much noise the big polluters will be shamed into response. Like the grandmothers of India shaming the rapists. I’m great with ideas, my execution lacks something.
      In my new political life, I’m trying to do what I can. I represent the town on a regional climate action task force and made the climate emergency motion in my municipality. Time is so much of the essence, we need big gestures as well as what we can do in our communities and our lives. I’ll get Elizabeth’s book.
      Thank you and keep plugging.


  8. april davidson says:

    Good Day Gery,
    A grand thought. Every individual can start by taking care of everything that comes within 3′ of them. Picking up a piece of garbage, helping an old lady across the street, saying a kind word, being thankful and grateful to the bird fluttering overhead, the little butterfly that lands on the beautiful flower. Living a life of gratitude will give us more to be grateful for. Energetically sending love and healing to our planet; water earth fire and air. Yes, activism is a good thought. We need a Spiritual leader that could motivate and unite all peoples (red, green and yellow striped) for the common good of mankind. I believe the change has started.
    Thank you Gery, I believe a lot of us think about making a difference and are too afraid of what people will think, or say. I learned a long time ago that people standing together have the power. to accomplish anything. Blessings and love to all


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Hi April. Thanks for this. We’re in such deep doodoo on planet earth, I think we grownups have a responsibility to do our part – in every neighbourhood and every country — for the children who will inherit the mess.


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