The turning lane was open, allowing the slowly moving cars to read our banner: “2021 Walk for Our Grandchildren and Mother Earth.”
We were in corporate dominated Wilmington, on the last day of the Walk, to draw attention to Chase Bank, the #1 funder of fossil fuel extraction, and demand that they stop funding fossil fuel development. Banks don't like bad publicity, since they need the trust of their customers.
The 2021 Walk for our Grandchildren and Mother Earth was an 8 day walk/ride between Scranton and Wilmington to urge the Biden administration to address the climate emergency and the many environmental justice issues caused by fossil fuels; and to pressure Chase Bank. I had only joined this Walk four days before, and in those few days I had confronted heart-wrenching realities caused by the extractive fossil fuel industries, and our national indifference to impacted communities.
Local activists, struggling for decades against huge corporations, feel supported and encouraged when others show up and witness what is happening in their communities.
"Working with...the Grandparents...feels like a gift of solidarity and purpose that I needed so badly. I feel rejuvenated and fortified to keep up the fight," commented a Walk participant.
Second, that “grandparents” and elder have a unique power – one that we don’t always recognize or cultivate. In the words of George Lakey, “I'm not sure that elders always remember how tired and scared people working for justice can get, and how much it means when an elder comes along with affirmation and encouragement.”
Finally, I discovered my own elder voice, when I heard myself saying, “I am doing this so that we will have a more thriving and just world for future generations. This is important, and I will not be moved.” I then sat back down in my rocking chair.
I don’t know if stopping traffic can stop climate change. But I am grateful that I have found my courage to take risks and stand up for the sake of all our children, our future generations – because that is our responsibility as elders. So, grab your rocking chair and let’s get to work.
Here are several other articles, actions and groups worthy of your attention:
Arrested in Rocking Chairs, Grandparents Protest Chase and Pressure Biden by George Lakey
Pennsylvania Town Battles to Shute Down Toxic Waste to Energy Plant an interview with Zulene Mayfield by Melinda Tuhus
Stop the Money Pipeline – various efforts to Stop Line 3 through the headwaters of the Mississippi
Appalachians Against Pipeline – “Old Hills and Old Folks Resist”
Elders Climate Action – committed to ending the climate crises and building and just and sustainable future for all children
Elders Action Network – building a movement of elders addressing the environmental and social justice issues of our time