While the young, unapologetic Greta Thunberg has become the face of the climate movement, it is the elderly members of the Extinction Rebellion that are gradually becoming heroes in the fight to inspire greater climate action. Among the “normals” of all ages, characters such as the 77-year-old Rabbi Jeffrey Newman were stealing the spotlight, showing the world that it’s not just the youth that wants change.
Thus far, hundreds in their 70s and some in their 90s – a seasoned 1960s generation – have been arrested all over the world in these climate-emergency demonstrations. This is the fittest ever cohort of pensioners, not only able to sit down in the street, but to get up again, too. These are the best “arrestable” – free of children, with pensions. They have no need to worry about damaged CVs and criminal-record checks, and so are model protest material, with the least to lose. And because of their age, police are doubly wary of dragging older folks down the street.
The Optimist Daily is no advocate of breaking the law per se, but if civil disobedience is what it takes to wake up politicians to the threat of climate change, then we feel obliged to support it.