About Us

 

We are elders, including grandparents, great aunts and great uncles who care about the future for all children. As Elders Climate Action members, we are determined to do all we can to leave a sustainable planet for future generations.


Mission


The mission of Elders Climate Action is to mobilize elders throughout the United States to address climate change while there is still time to protect the well-being of our grandchildren and future generations.  We are dedicated to using the power of our caring, our wisdom and our numbers to push for strong policies that will reduce greenhouse gases in our atmosphere to a level consistent with life thriving on our planet.


Core Values


ECA is an organization of volunteers who come together in a culture of learning, collaboration, member empowerment, and leadership development. Our community of trust grows stronger every day as members take on commitments and work together to achieve ECA’s goals no matter how difficult they seem at the outset.

❖ ECA encourages and supports leadership development in central committees, members, task forces, chapters and teams

❖ ECA empowers members to be active participants in the fulfillment of our mission

❖ ECA embraces a culture of learning so that skills and experience are shared to further ECA initiatives

❖ ECA embraces a culture of collaboration with organizations which share aspects of our mission

❖ Elders Climate Action is an inclusive organization, encouraging membership by all elders, striving to include elders from all segments of American society, and seeking involvement of members in all aspects of decision-making for the organization.

❖ ECA encourages member driven initiatives.

❖ ECA has adopted the Jemez Principles of Democratic Organization:

Be Inclusive

Emphasis on Bottom-Up Organizing

Let People Speak for Themselves

Work Together In Solidarity and Mutuality

Build Just Relationships Among Ourselves

Commitment to Self Transformation


History:  


Founded in late 2014, from our parent organization Elders Action Network, formerly know as Conscious Elders Network,  ECA has grown in a short time reaching over 12,000 elders with a number of active regional chapters and more in formation. We have established collaborative partnerships with over 70 other climate-focused organizations. As an all-volunteer organization, with one part-time Director of Operations, we rely on our members to create the ECA legacy. You too can be part of this legacy!  


ECA Director of Operations

M. Jennifer Chandler, known to us as “Jen” was introduced to ECA through her mother, Hazel Chandler (a member of the ECA leadership team and Arizona Chapter leader).  After fifteen years teaching in the visual arts and managing the art gallery and visual arts center at Prescott College, a small liberal arts college in the Arizona Central Highlands, Jen was ready for a change.  Her mom pointed her toward a small group of elders attempting to start an elder climate movement and said, “help them, this is important“.  It didn’t take long to see that Jen’s background in nonprofit management, arts and design, education, and advocacy were a perfect fit with ECA’s growing needs…and she was thrilled by the challenge and idea of supporting intergenerational climate action.

Jen jokes that she’s been an advocate of all things since birth, proudly following her mother’s lead.  When it comes to climate change, Jen is a lover of the natural world, who spent much of her youth as an explorer and outdoor guide, experiencing remote and hard to reach places that had deep and lasting impacts. “Many of the places I have loved have been impacted by the devastating effects of climate change. My own hometown has experienced repeat tragedy caused by wildfire and drought, including the loss of 19 firefighters of our local Granite Mountain Hotshot crew in the Yarnell Hill fire, days after saving our town from the Doce Fire. My personal experiences have shown me that TIME IS UP…there’s no more time to wait, we must take action on climate with a deep sense of moral duty & urgency. Nothing is more important.

Jen has a BA in Adventure Education & Photography and a MA in Arts Administration/Nonprofit Leadership and is a Climate Reality Leader (LA 08).


At the Heart of ECA Are Few Highly Dedicated Volunteers

Meet the volunteer leaders who make Elders Climate Action possible


We are primarily baby boomers. Having come of age in a time of social activism, we know what power citizen voices can have in shaping public policy. We are grandparents and concerned elders who accept our role as guardians of future generations. We recognize that if we do not do something now, our grandchildren and future generations will suffer from our inaction.  

Click on the image below to read the bio

  • Hazel Chandler, Arizona

  • Margo Frank,  California

  • Geri Freedman, Florida

  • Grady

    Grady McGonagill,  Massachusetts

  • Dr. Steve Simon, Indiana

  • John Sorensen, California

  • Leslie Wharton, Maryland

Hazel Chandler, Arizona

Coordinating Council member, Arizona Chapter Co-Leader

As I went through my life stages of motherhood and grand-parenting I became increasingly concerned about the world that our children and grandchildren are inheriting.  Upon retiring from the nonprofit sector, I finally had time to act in response to this concern and felt an urgent call to act now.  I trained with Climate Reality and a few weeks later found Elders Climate Action. Together with my other Elder friends, we are writing a new story to tell our grandchildren about how we joined together to demand human rights for all and a livable future for future generations and all inhabitants of planet earth.   

Margo Frank,  California

Co-Chair Communications & Marketing Committee, Coordinating Council member

I love being a grandmother but I worry about the world my grandkids will inherit. As a partially retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I focus on creating resiliency in my rural community. In 2015 I joined ECA so that I could do more to leave a sustainable world for future generations.  Being involved in ECA feeds my spirit, sets an example for my family and keeps me working on my own carbon footprint.

Geri Freedman, Florida

Co-Chair Coordinating Council and Communications & Marketing Committee

In my youth I was an activist in the women’s movement, the war and the environment.  Then came career and family which became my entire life. During my working years I worked in social services and government administration   became a grandparent and my life changed and  I knew I could do more to preserve our planet.   I look at my young grandchildren and I am inspired to act.  As a contributor to the current state of the earth I must act now.  I know we can make a difference for our grandchildren through our passion, wisdom, skills and actions. My vision is for my grandchildren to live in the beautiful world we grew up in.

Grady McGonagill,  Massachusetts

Grady
Engagement Committee Chair, Coordinating Council member, Massachusetts Chapter Leader

For 30 years I worked as a leadership consultant and coach.  In 2013 I  felt called to address climate change, offering pro bono support to The Better Future Project and joining the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Grandparents’ Climate Action Day in 2015 drew me into ECA where I now use my leadership skills to lead the first ECA state chapter, in Massachusetts and provide inspiration to other chapters as they develop.

Dr. Steve Simon, Indiana

Coordinating Council, Policy Committee co-chair

I’ve always loved science! I studied it in college and built a career mostly focused on the environment and energy, including the EPA’s work in research, monitoring and remediation. My dedication to leaving a safe world for future generations led me to get involved with Elders Climate Action where I draw on my expertise to help formulate our national policies.

John Sorensen, California

Elders Action Network (EAN) Coordinating Director,  Fundraising Committee co-chair, ECA Coordinating Council member

Captivated by the Space Race, I worked for many years in the field of aerospace as an engineer, manager and entrepreneur. In 2005 I felt called to dedicate myself to humanitarian service and the creation of a culture that honors and supports the wisdom of elders. Being involved with ECA is an extension of my life-long focus on social and environmental justice.

Leslie Wharton, Maryland

Co-Chair Coordinating Council and Engagement Committee

My love of American history led me to the field of law and a belief that our political leaders would act for the benefit of all. By 2007, when climate change grabbed my attention, I recognized that I could not rely on government to address this threat. I’m convinced that we the people need to take this issue in hand. That’s why I’m an Elders Climate Action leader.


A Special Acknowledgement of Our Founder


Paul Severance, (Retired) Founder of Elders Climate Action 

Paul Severance spent most of his working life as a community organizer, including urban neighborhood organizing in New York and Indiana. He founded an Indiana senior citizens legislative advocacy organization, United Senior Action of Indiana, and served as its Executive Director for 27 years.  He is past Board Chair and current Administrative Director for Sage-ing International.

In retirement, Paul has turned his attention to the  existential threat posed by climate change, and the responsibility of elders to speak for the seventh generation.  He believes that both because of our long-term perspective and our numbers, American elders have the potential to become a leading force in combating climate change.  He founded Elders Climate Action, stepping down from his role at ECA in the fall 2017, and now serves as a Congressional Liaison for Citizens Climate Lobby.   

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