My name is Kate. I’m 68 years old, and I have three granddaughters – Rose, aged 12, Eve, age 11, and Alice four. I’m one of the very lucky people who was born after the war, grew up in a (relatively) peaceful world, at a time of plenty, at least in the West. And I have the added bonus of knowing, and being known by my grandchildren, which my own grandmothers did not.
But this good fortune has come at a price to those who will come after me. It saddens me that our profligate use of fossil fuels and concentration on unbounded economic growth has already damaged the earth, and will bring catastrophic problems to our descendants if we don’t start to limit the effects right now by cutting the amount of carbon dioxide we are pumping into the atmosphere. I am very concerned that some world leaders don’t appear to be acting urgently or decisively enough to limit the anticipated temperature increase to a “safe” level of 2 degrees, but appear to be more interested in popular short-term goals for political reasons.
I have therefore decided to link with other like-minded grandparents to form “Grandparents For A Safe Earth” in order to use what power I have to influence the situation before it is too late. As older people we have less to lose by taking risks. We no longer have to earn a living to support our families, we have more time on our hands and we have the benefit of life experience. Our remaining time on earth is relatively short, which concentrates the mind wonderfully. We are committed to influence and confront policy makers and organisations by a variety of means, including disseminating information, lobbying, and taking direct action – always non-violent- in order to promote the reduction of damaging CO2 emissions.
I simply cannot stand by and do nothing. How can I look at my grandchildren and know that the world is heading for catastrophe and just get on with “business as usual”? Let’s work together to halt the madness. Let’s use our personal power to ensure that all our children and grandchildren, wherever we are, will inherit the beautiful earth that we did.
David Attenborough: ”I’m 80 now. It’s not that I think, like any old man, that change is wrong. I recognise that the world has always changed. I know that. But the point is, it’s changing more extremely and swiftly than at any time in the past several million years. And one of the things I don’t want to do is to look at my grandchildren and hear them say: “Grandfather, you knew it was happening – and you did nothing.”As told to Michael McCarthy www.open2.net/climatechange/
Prince Charles: “I don’t want to hand on an increasingly dysfunctional world to our grandchildren, to leave them with the real problem. I don’t want to be confronted by my future grandchild and be asked ‘Why didn’t you do something?’ (I want) to try and make sure we leave them something that isn’t a total poisoned chalice.” Interview on ITV, 06/01/2013.
Barbara Day, aged 72 of GFASE: ‘I want my grandchildren to inherit a world that has enough resources remaining for their well-being. I want a world that is free of pollution caused by the remorseless rush for expansion and profit of multinational companies, the benefits of which are not passed on to those working people who ultimately created the wealth” (Grandmother of Joseph, Daniel, Gemma, Mia and Sid).
Lord Stern: “We can’t give up. We can’t just say “Oh, this political will stuff is all too difficult. It’s not going to happen”. Well, if that’s what you really believe, get a hat and write a letter of apology to your grandchildren.’’ ‘Changing minds and political will’ on YouTube 06/01/2014
Phil Kingston aged 78, of GFASE: ‘I am disturbed that most people in Government, Business and Media avoid referring to the predicted effects of CO2 emissions upon future generations. I ask that when they next look into the eyes of their children and grandchildren, they will reflect upon the seriousness and urgency of the content of the IPCC 2013 Report – and see where that takes them’. (Grandfather of James, Daniel, Phillipa and Edward).
Sir Mark Walport, UK Chief Scientific Adviser: “The question is, when do you take out fire insurance? If you take out your fire insurance by the time the first storey of your house is in flames, then you’re a bit late. The metaphor I use is, what price a grandchild? And if not what price a grandchild, then what price a grandchild’s grandchild?” Financial Times, 11/03/2014
Fi Radford ,aged 65, of GFASE: ‘Although I am not technically a grandparent yet, I feel a huge responsibility for the children and animals of our planet. The boomer generation has enjoyed a quality of life unimaginable to our parents. All future life on the planet may have to pay the price.’
Mary Robinson ‘Climate Change is an intergenerational problem: the injustices caused to our children and grandchildren. I sometimes wake up thinking ‘what would they think of us; we could have done so much more and didn’t?” International Bar Association Conference, Dublin, October 2012.
Vince Cable ‘I certainly am frightened about the predicted effects of climate change upon my grandchildren.’ Meeting with members of GFASE in Bristol, 01/03/2014.
Wendell Berry ‘….as I’ve grown older, I’ve understood that when I put my comfort on the line as a protestor or whatever, I’m doing what old people ought to do. I have less life to live than the younger people. I think the old people ought to be the first ones in line to risk arrest.’ (Interviewed by David Cohn for Yale Environment 360, 6th March 2014).