Clean energy advocacy – a missing generation?
November 10, 2011
last thought on last Sunday’s White House demonstration against the Keystone XL
pipeline. It has to do with the missing
I commented yesterday, at least half of the demonstrators looked, to me, to be
somewhere in their 20s. There was also a
good turnout of older folks, say ages 50-something and up. But the middle generation, the folks in their
30s and 40s, seemed to be missing. Where
course, it’s not like they weren’t there at all. In fact, when we ended up linking arms, I was
coincidentally sandwiched between two people who both looked to be part of that
demographic. So I took advantage of the
situation to conduct a little focus group of two.
my right was a woman from Virginia. She
gave me clue number 1: the mention that in
order to come to the demonstration, she had had to line up a babysitter to take
her daughter to her ballet lesson.
my left, a young-ish (but not that young) human rights lawyer. He said that many of his friends, in their
early 40s, waited to have kids and are now the parents of toddlers. They’re caught up in the busy lives and programmed
activities of their young children.
not suggesting that folks need to bring their little ones to a four-hour rally. That requires a daunting degree of logistical
preparation, patience and energy. To say
nothing of working bathrooms.
the lesson is more that street demonstrations – and other forms of in-person
participation – may not be forms of activism that mesh easily with the
lifestyle of people with children.
raise this in part because it echoes an issue facing Physicians for Social
Responsibility. Many of our activists
are either medical students, or health professionals well advanced in their
lives and careers. Finding a way to
incorporate that middle generation is a challenge to us.
have any good ideas?