Help Wanted..send Resume too...

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Doglips, Apr 22, 2002.

  1. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

    Appearently according to this artical the Average Age of three huggers is 62..not colledge kids...

    Warriors for green seek fresh recruits

    By Kevin Spear | Sentinel Staff Writer
    Posted April 22, 2002

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    Keepers of the flame. (JESSICA MANN/ ORLANDO SENTINEL)
    Apr 21, 2002


    Florida's aging activists. (LISA A. FRASIER/ORLANDO SENTINEL)
    Apr 21, 2002

    They donned swimming suits, swabbed black paint on their exposed flesh and stormed a gas station to demonstrate against offshore drilling.

    Then they built a symbolic manatee cemetery and later invaded a discount store, pasting merchandise with anti-exploitation statements such as "made for your children by children."

    The acts of civil disobedience came from University of Central Florida students sparring with those they see as evildoers. Yet those idealistic members of Free the Planet, as well as youthful activists elsewhere in Florida, are a rare species.

    A study of the voting patterns of 320,000 environmentalists statewide revealed a startling statistic: The average age of an environmental activist is 62.

    The study by the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund in Tallahassee analyzed nearly three dozen of the largest or most active groups statewide, said Jay Liles, Florida director of the group.

    "I'd say 'Here's the breakdown of your organization,' and they would say 'Wow! Look at how old we are,' " Liles said. "I would tell them 'You are not alone.' "

    The annual Earth Day celebration today arrives at an ominous time for the planet's health, say green-movement leaders, who say President Bush has attacked laws protecting air, water, wildlife and natural landscapes. Some environmental groups, sensing a graying within their ranks, wonder if they will have what it takes to muster effective responses.

    "It requires a lot of energy to do this stuff, to always look for what's possible," said Bill Lowrie, Audubon of Florida coordinator for 43 local chapters in the state. "I'm 66 and don't want to denigrate senior citizens in any way, but I'm saying it's a healthy situation to have a better mix."

    Age offers advantages

    Not all groups fret about age. The Nature Conservancy has found that its members -- an older demographic -- are well prepared to support the group's expensive mission to buy large tracts of natural landscape for restoration and preservation. The conservancy's roughly 1 million members nationwide have an average age of 65 and an average income of about $65,000 annually.

    Another activist, Virginia Seacrist, said the advance of years brings valuable ingredients to the making of an environmentalist.

    "We have time, we have experience and we are mad," said Seacrist, 60, who led a failed battle to stop a cement plant now being built near the revered Ichetucknee River in Suwannee County.

    Yet other environmental organizations see an urgent need to recruit younger members.

    "They are the ones out there in the water as much as anybody," said Shelly Kahn of the Palm Beach County chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. The group promotes cleanup of coastal waters.

    Problem is, some say, younger potential members often won't get into the trenches of activism for face-to-face confrontations.

    "I think they want to be part of the solution," said Lisa Shuford, organizer of the UCF chapter of Free the Planet. "But they want to do it in the house at their computers."

    Shuford began recruiting at the start of school last year and signed up dozens of interested students, who, when asked, would fire off protest e-mails on behalf of Free the Planet. As the school year draws to a close, the group has gained a reputation as savvy and committed but has just four active members.

    They're tellingly different from many of their student peers. Members profess their hatred of television, and one them, Kristen Trotter, 30, is far out of campus synch by not having his own e-mail address.

    Jessica Larson, 21, said her group returned recently from a speech given by famed activist Ralph Nader in Tampa.

    "You need to grow up civic and not grow up corporate," she said, paraphrasing Nader.

    It was that kind of message that took root with the first Earth Day in 1970, a time when threats to the environment reached critical mass. The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland had caught fire several times. Cities were blanketed with smog.

    While environmentalists rallied, the federal government created the Environmental Protection Agency, and several powerful laws were passed to protect air and water.

    Fast forward 32 years to today, and many of the most blatant assaults on the environment have been addressed. For example, auto emissions are 90 percent cleaner.

    More 'sophisticated' foes

    But where activists once could target obvious assaults on the environment, they now often wrangle endlessly with opposing scientists and public-relations consultants over details of environmental regulation.

    "Polluters have gotten a lot more sophisticated," said Mark Ferrulo, director of the Florida Public Interest Research Group in Tallahassee. "Some of the worst corporate polluters are now sponsoring Earth Day events."

    Today's leading villains of the environment -- including global warming, ozone depletion and gas-guzzling SUVs -- don't strike the same emotional chord as a manatee sliced by a boat propeller. Yet they threaten to do far more harm.

    "We're at the point where we have a potential crisis but it's not apparent," said Frank Jackalone, senior regional representative for the National Sierra Club in St. Petersburg.

    Ann Griffin, 62, of north Lake County didn't become an environmental activist until the early 1990s.

    "I was so busy with kids and dogs and all that," Griffin said.

    Most members of the group she belongs to, the Lake County Conservation Council, are of retirement age. But she wishes there were younger faces, people who could address abuses like those described in the book that helped bring about the first Earth Day -- Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.

    "When I reread it, I became so upset and horrified because I could see that we are even worse," Griffin said.

    Kevin Spear can be reached at 407-420-5062 or at [email protected].

    Copyright © 2002, Orlando Sentinel
  2. wes

    wes Guest

    Why don't these retired senior citizens go out and get a job?

  3. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    I guess the Flower Children grew into Tree Huggers. Eventually, the Compost Heap? :D

  4. PAPA G

    PAPA G G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    quess thats what happens when you retire with no hobby!!! maybe they should retire to floridas blue double knit pants and white loafers brigade, they can spend their days feeding the alligators tofu burgers!!!!!:rolleyes: :p
  5. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    Heck no, Papa G, we got too many of 'em down here now. They ought to open up a season on the golf courses, let us "thin the herd". LOL Wouldn't be so bad if they'd go south of Alligator Alley. Tally-town is crawling with 'em. Gives the gators the heebee jeebees.

    :target: :nod: