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Greener and Wiser; A new report from the older generation

The environmental movement is typically seen as the younger person’s domain, with the views and concerns of older people often being ignored. However, according to UK NGO, age should not be a barrier to being green.

The Greener and Wiser Taskforce’s manifesto, launched in the UK on the 11th May, sheds light on the impressive potential of older people to help build more sustainable communities.

The Taskforce, made up of 10 older people from around the UK, has produced their manifesto with two aims:

>To increase the profile of older people’s views in environmental decision-making; and

>To address the practical challenges that older people face in making greener choices.

The Taskforce members, aged between 52 to 90, were supported by The Green Alliance, a UK based environmental think tank, in conjunction with Natural England and two NGOs, Age Concern and Help the Aged. They debated a variety of green issues with experts to develop a set of recommendations for change. The new Greener and Wiser Manifesto aims to increase the profile of older people’s views in environmental decision-making and address the practical challenges that older people face in making greener choices.

The recommendations of the manifesto seek to provide older people with a greater say on environmental issues, make greener choices easier and capitalise on their potential to help build more sustainable communities. The manifesto also highlights what the taskforce expect of government, of businesses and of the older population in the UK. Their recommendations include:

>Training older people as volunteer environmental advisers in their communities

> Consulting older people at the local level to ‘age-proof’ environmental strategies

> Developing intergenerational projects for young and old to explore the environment together

> Appointing a high profile champion for older people and the environment, making it more relevant to older people and their lives

> Reducing waste and promoting reuse

> Supporting older people better in making green energy choices.

The organisers claims that age should not be a barrier to being green, but so often efforts to engage people with the environmental debate and to promote behaviour change focus on younger people. Older people can contribute to the environmental debate, their experience and enthusiasm should be drawn on and not ignored. As the people in the UK and across much of Europe live longer, the views and actions of the older generation in the climate change debate become ever more important.

As Governments look to promote methods of behaviour change across society, the taskforce recommends that the potential of older people should not be overlooked. Many older people are well placed within their respective communities to share environmental messages and to make green issues more relevant to people’s daily lives.

“Our environment is a legacy for coming generations and older people care about what we are leaving. We have an important role in our communities and we want a say in decisions that affect us and better information and support to help us take green action” – The Greener and Wise Taskforce.



Written on 2 June 2009.

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