On March 21 senior citizens held more than 100 climate actions around the country. Participants included retired trade unionists from 30 different international unions.

They demanded that Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and Bank of America, which invested more than $1 trillion into oil and gas between 2016 and 2021, stop funding fossil fuels. The actions were organized by Third Act, a climate protection group for people aged 60 and older, co-founded by Bill McKibben of 350.org.

The statement by the Retired Union Members Working Group of Third Act says in part:

Retired union members have spent their lives uniting our country’s multi-ethnic, multi-racial working class to fight their bosses and to work with their allies for broader social justice. We want to bring that experience and those skills to the struggles around the two great existential issues of our time–democracy and climate change.

In our working lives as trade unionists we organized, bargained contracts, fought employers, elected officials, lobbied for and passed legislation. Every struggle takes time, compromise, and a continuing agenda–la lucha continua.

The simple physics of climate is different. Science tells us we have to stop burning fossil fuels and cut emissions by 50% in the next 7 years or face climate disasters far worse than we are already experiencing. We can’t bargain and compromise with and ask physics to slow down.

We have to threaten the profits of these 4 dirty banks–Citi, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase– so they stop investing in future extraction and infrastructure and instead invest in renewable energy–and do it now.

As retirees, we all have amazingly full plates. But leaving a legacy of a cleaner planet for our children and grandchildren isn’t an item for our bucket list. Physics doesn’t have time, and we don’t have time. We have to join this fight now.

For the full statement and more information on the Retired Union Members Working Group of Third Act:  thirdact.org/working-groups/retired-union-members/