Environmental activists are not always the dreadlock wearing, patchouli scented hippies that most people envision. In fact, some of the most fervent campaigners against global warming happen to be graying, slightly wrinkled elders.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald profiled five seniors who are part of a new initiative called Grey Power, a Greenpeace program for older people who, according to the article, “are using their retirement years to help reverse some of the damage done to the planet during their lifetimes.”

Just because they are retired doesn’t mean that they can’t promote change, the activists in the article argue. Ranging in age from 59 to 83, they confront legislators, check up on loggers to ensure that they aren’t breaking the rules, and urge retailers to recycle.

Now that we think about it, it’s true that most of our grandparents have been greenies for a whole lot longer than we have. After all, they were raised during the Great Depression, when “reduce, reuse, recycle” wasn’t a lifestyle choice, but a survival strategy. In this age of the green living self-help book (our office bookshelf runneth over), everyone’s selling advice. But we’d wager that your grandma will give you a few eco tips for free. Unless of course she’s realized how marketable her knowledge is and written a book herself. In which case you should probably hit her up for some business advice.       

Story by Susan Cosier. This article originally appeared in "Plenty" in July 2007.

Copyright Environ Press 2007