Elders Legacy Project

Mobilizing the wisdom and resources of elders today for a legacy of a more sustainable and livable tomorrow.

 The 5 Elder Action Strategies
for a More Sustainable and Livable Future


Elder Stewardship Story

As elder citizens, we desire to continue making a positive difference in the lives of others—families, friends, community, and beyond. We bring energy, available time, accumulated resources, and years of practical and valuable experience.

So, it seems right and just for our generation to leave a positive legacy for the generations to come, to act now to alter the course of human history while there may still be time. Stirring within us is a realization that we need to speak out and join with others - across races, cultures, nationalities, religions, political affiliations, and occupations – in building a more sustainable and livable future on Planet Earth.

Legacy Vision
Mobilization of the wisdom, talents, experience, and resources of elders to influence and promote actions leading to a more sustainable environment for current and future generations.

As elder citizens of the Earth, we desire to serve as a catalyst in educating the public, opinion leaders, and decision makers regarding actions and policies that can effectively address critical environmental issues facing current and future generations.

Goal One
To work in cooperation with cohorts and stakeholders to bring about legislative action to develop, fund, and implement a Climate Change Action Plan for Nebraska.

Strategy Principles
Above the main entrance to the Nebraska State Capitol are these words carved into stone:
The Salvation of the State is watchfulness in the citizen

That statement captures the essence of our strategy principles. More specifically, these are:
  • To mobilize a grass-roots movement of committed, elder citizens to be responsible stewards of the Earth’s resources and a “voice of reason”.
  • To follow a multi-faceted Action Strategy (see attached figure) targeting: lifestyle, education, advocacy, public policy, and economic decision areas
  • To partner with other organizations when synergistic outcomes are achievable
  • To embrace diverse contributions that elder citizens can and do make to the common cause of a more sustainable and livable future
  • To strive for a dynamic and evolving approach, always being open to new ideas
  • To celebrate both the process and the accomplishment which creates hope and a sense of community
  • To pledge hope and persistence in the belief that the collective wisdom and dedication of elders locally, regionally, nationally, and globally can help change the course of human history

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
--Margaret Mead

The 5 Elder Action Strategies
for a More Sustainable and Livable Future

“Living simply that others may simply live.” --Gandhi
  • Make decisions that can reduce our environmental footprint.
    • Reduce energy consumption in our homes and travel.
    • Make recreation and exercise choices that consume fewer natural resources.
    • Alter our diet to include food that is both nutritious and sustainable.
    • Support locally-based agriculture to reduce the carbon footprint of transportation.
    • If possible, grow a garden and/or preserve garden produce.
  • Develop a personal and family appreciation for simple living that is not driven by media advertising or peer pressure.
  • Rediscover the more satisfying aspects of life that do not require large resource-consuming activity nor create undue harm to the environment.
  • Genuinely demonstrate a positive and healthy lifestyle that will encourage those around us to emulate.
  • Share with members of the younger generation the simple joys of a more holistic lifestyle and the logic of doing so.

“Wise eldership is the ongoing effort of processing factual information into knowledge, and knowledge into understanding, and understanding into wisdom—wisdom to be shared for the common good of all.”
  • KNOWLEDGE: Study and develop the ever-growing knowledge of sound climate science and its interface with humanity.
    • Build and refine a defendable personal knowledge base of climate change.
    • Resist the temptation to assume the opinions of others as fact.
    • Listen openly to the opposing sides of debates associated with climate change with a willingness to be changed.
    • Be ready and willing to respectfully share one’s knowledge of climate change to a receptive audience—be it one person or many.
  • UNDERSTANDNG: Critically assess the trends and implications of climate change, particularly as those implications impact humans and their natural environment today and into the future.
    • Seek to “connect the dots” of climate change, knowing that the relationships of natural forces are not always straight-forward nor immediately evident.
    • Focus on the implications for humanity—present and future—that will ultimately decide meaningful cultural and policy response to the climate issues.
    • Develop one’s understanding of opportunities for action that can benefit humanity today as well as into the future; i.e., build a story of hope.
    • Understand the tradeoffs and the risks as well as the distribution of positive and negative Impacts of the various scenarios.
  • WISDOM: Pass on the Earth Legacy. As elders, we see the climate challenge through the lens of experience and history. This unique perspective allows us to provide a much larger context in which to discuss, teach, and nurture the significance of Earth stewardship and a Vision of a more sustainable future.
    • Be willing to effectively and passionately share our own elder wisdom story with others—be they family, friends, neighbors, the business community, public officials, the faith community, or others within our conversations.
    • Be an elder teacher/mentor to the younger generation - our own grandchildren, students in our local schools, scout groups, 4-H clubs, etc. broadening their understanding of the awesomeness of the natural world and the joy of being responsible stewards.
    • Commit with other elders to become a powerful “Voice of Reason” wherever and whenever decisions are being made that will affect the success of achieving a sustainable Earth Community.
    • Always remain “teachable” that our individual and collective wisdom evolves and matures.
    • Live each day with hope and purpose!

“Being a voice of wisdom and civility in the public policy arena.”
  • Commit to being informed on facts and policy issues related to the sustainability of our Earth’s health and resources.
  • Commit to supporting and working for those candidates running for office who understand our planet’s sustainability issues and will actively pursue appropriate policy action for the common good. Exercise our right to Vote for these candidates.
  • Communicate persistently but respectfully with our elected officials and others regarding our planet’s sustainability issues – always urging those policy actions for the good of the whole.
  • Be prepared to testify on behalf of planet’s sustainability issues with a reasoned and compelling voice at public hearings, be they on the local, state, or national level.
  • Actively articulate the planet sustainability issues in the various social media options.
  • Commit to civility in our engagements in the public policy arena.

“Factoring our economic decisions through the lens of the earth stewardship.”
  • Learn to make purchase decisions that are good of the planet – whether they are for short-term personal consumption or for long-term investment.
  • Send clear economic messages to business entities in every sector—that we support them with our patronage for being truly environmentally conscious; and accordingly, do not support those who are not being environmentally wise.
  • Be willing to pay more taxes for those legitimate public policy efforts that best support the sustainability of the planet’s resources and promote climate justice.
  • Consider investment and disinvestment decisions to our financial portfolios that may run contrary to conventional financial strategy – but from the standpoint of stewardship of the earth, will be “the right thing to do.”
  • Give charitable support to legitimate groups and organizations that are working toward finding answers to the problems challenging sustainability of the Earth’s resources.
  • Re-evaluate our retirement wealth and estate planning.
    • Consider investing in more environmentally-prudent businesses.
    • Be willing to accept the possibility of lower rates of financial return in the short-term in exchange for investments in long-term planet sustainability.
    • Consider designating a percentage of our estates to organizations dedicated to planet sustainability and stewardship as the ultimate climate legacy for our grandchildren and the generations to follow.

“Always seeking to understand and to be understood.”
  • Scrutinize our own preconceived notions and ideas and be open to change our own course of direction: The point: an open will (willingness to change).
  • Understand opposing arguments to natural resources conservation measures so that we can respond in a thoughtful, respectful manner. The point: an open heart (empathy).
  • Seek interaction with those who may view an issue differently than we do and initiate dialogue that can lead to potential consensus building. The point: an open mind.

Our Pledge
Elder Stewards of the Earth

“You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.” --Douglas MacArthur

We will, with Perseverance, Passion, and Hope. . .

Take our historical place as elders of our culture. And, in that role forged by living through and enduring life’s challenges, we believe that we can be a source of wisdom, strength and hope for our younger generations.

Hold fast to our belief that the Stewardship of our Earth is a deeply-held societal value that compels us to speak and act in its defense.

Join with all our global neighbors to mutually support and encourage our quest for a better and more livable world for the generations to follow.

Courageously speak for those who are marginalized in today’s world as well as for the well-being of future generations.

Earnestly work to pass on our vision of hope and personal responsibility as Elder Stewards of the Earth to our children, grandchildren, and the entire global family.