The South West London grandparent who campaigned for climate justice in 2021

With COP26 and large scale protests from Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain dominating the headlines, 2021 has been a watershed year for climate activism. 

But did you know that grandparents have been getting in on the action?

Contrary to the popular misconception that climate change is solely the concern of the young, research from the policy institute at Kings College London suggests that some older adults are more committed to tackling global warming than their younger counterparts. 

Charmian Kenner, a 67-year-old South West London resident is a member of the group Grandparents and Elders for Extinction Rebellion, which was launched in 2019. 

She said: “I got involved in Grandparents and Elders within Extinction Rebellion because I was really worried about the future of my grandchildren and other children around the world. 

“I realised that the government was not doing anything to protect them from the climate crisis, so I realised I would have to do something myself and I looked for other people in a similar situation

Kenner is one of several members of the group who have been arrested at protests. 

Two of her fellow members, both of whom are 93, have been arrested several times. 

“Being arrested was a very emotional experience, because I felt I had to make my point by staying in that place, sitting outside all the banks in the centre of the city. 

Kenner said she was surprised to find herself shouting repeatedly as she was led away by the police. 

“I didn’t expect to but I started shouting: ‘I’m here for my granddaughter; she’s 15 months old.” 

“I wanted people to know why I was doing what I was doing.” 

Kenner’s message to young people is that older people are there to support them in the fight against climate change. 

“Many of us do care deeply and we are very involved.” 

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