Why grannies? Why not everyone who is working to make the changes to our way of living now that will provide the children of the future with lives full of the goodness of creation? Well, we have to start somewhere, don’t we?
Grannies have some advantages.
- We have lived long enough to perceive first hand the changes in our climate and environment and not like what we see.
- We are mostly retired, having the time, energy and underpinnings to be able to devote ourselves to the effort of reducing human impact on the environment.
- We have nothing to lose; our grandchildren have life, as we’ve known it, to lose.
- We know that “older means bolder.”
Here’s an example:
A large number of grandmothers were among the 1200 protesters arrested in front of the White House in August 2011 in an effort to convince President Obama not to approve a proposed pipeline that would carry tar sands oil (bitumen) from Alberta, Canada, through the U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico, jeopardizing wildlife, water sources, atmospheric temperatures and the health of all who live along the route. TransCanada, the corporation behind the pipeline, has not been honest with its promises and projections, has not constructed quality pipelines in the past (one leaked 13 time in its first year of operation), and is threatening U.S. landholders with eminent domain. The protesters have had some success but the issue is still hot.
The power of citizen groups to effect major change in this country has been proven over and over again. Slavery fell after abolitionists risked their lives in protest; women’s suffrage was won with marches, speeches and physical abuse; more recently big tobacco has been brought to its knees to protect air quality and citizen health.
These efforts took years. We don’t have years; time is of the essence. We must make the American public and government aware of the peril we are in, worldwide. We must insist that responsible action be taken. We need to do this NOW.
Here’s the challenge: We are calling all women of a generative age, not necessarily biological grandmothers, to join in becoming Guardians of Mother Earth to save our grandkids’ future.
Here’s how: We are forming a network of teams across our country to share information and provide encouragement. Local chapters meet for education and empowerment. They actively witness to the dangers of continuing our present course in such ways as
- Speaking to gatherings of people who are not aware of the critical nature of this issue.
- Writing informed letters to the editor.
- Working to influence government at all levels to develop alternative energy and transportation.
- Showing up at designated sites to protest the continuing use of fossil fuels.
- Risking arrest through well-targeted civil disobedience demonstrations.
Imagine the power of 100 Grannies on railroad tracks all over the country, protesting trainloads of coal. Rows of gray-haired women witnessing our concern. A media heyday.
This is the challenge for which we were born.
This may well be the reason we are still alive.
This is our purpose the rest of our lives—to guard the earth, the source of all life,
And to do it with perseverance, love, humor, and hope, that our grandchildren and all children may live in a reawakened, regenerated world.
No one person can do this alone; no one should feel alone in her concern about the future of our planet. We stand together across distance, across divisions such as political parties, race and ethnicity and in the face of corporate greed, ignorance of the issues and general animosity. Together we are a force.
100 Grannies founder Barbara Schlachter is a semi-retired Episcopal priest, pastoral counselor and spiritual director. She is co-founder of Iowa City Climate Advocates and local coordinator of Citizens Climate Lobby. She was arrested in the Tar Sands White House protest. She is a grandmother.