Other Group

Third Act

Website:

thirdact.org/

Type:

Voter mobilization and climate change advocacy

Fiscal Sponsor:

Sustainable Markets Foundation

Formation:

2021

Founder:

Bill McKibben

Third Act is a left-of-center political advocacy group that aims to mobilize older voters. It was founded by prominent environmentalist Bill McKibben in 2021 with the guiding notion that, in his words, “older Americans are not stuck in the past” but are in fact “eager to take on the challenges that have arisen in [their] lifetimes, climate change chief among them.” [1]

Third Act is a fiscally sponsored project of Sustainable Markets Foundation, a major environmentalist organization. [2]

Background

Third Act was founded by environmentalist Bill McKibben in September 2021. McKibben announced the launch of the organization on September 1, claiming thousands of members shortly after the launch. [3]

Third Act is a fiscally-sponsored project of Sustainable Markets Foundation, a 501(c)(3) environmentalist organization that also provides funds and services to 350.org (an organization McKibben also founded) and Frack Action. [4]

Activities

Third Act’s website states that “experienced Americans,” or citizens over the age of 60, are the fastest-growing part of the population and therefore must play a key role in making “the changes that must be made to protect our planet.” [5] Its guiding notion is that, in McKibben’s words, “older Americans are not stuck in the past” but are in fact “eager to take on the challenges that have arisen in [their] lifetimes, climate change chief among them.” [6]

It grounds its left-leaning appeals to the Baby Boomer generation by citing memories of the Civil Rights movement, anti-Vietnam War protests, and second-wave feminism, while warning that “the promise of those changes may be dying, as the planet heats and inequality grows.” [7]

McKibben told news outlet VTDigger that he hopes to form local chapters of Third Act and speculated that the movement might be especially relevant in Vermont where, he claimed, 20 percent of the population is 65 and older. [8]

Third Act aims to mobilize this age demographic in political campaigns about climate change, racial equity, and “democracy.” It specifically names protecting the allegedly fragile 1965 Voting Rights Act and cutting the big banks’ investments in the oil and gas industry as some of its key issue areas. [9]

In a September 2022 op-ed, McKibben and Third Act chair Heather Booth suggest that senior citizens “pledge to cut up our credit cards from the four biggest American banks, who are also the four biggest lenders to the fossil fuel industry.” [10]

Leadership

Bill McKibben is the founder of Third Act. He is the author of The End of Nature, which has been called “the first popular book about climate change.” [11] To publish this book, McKibben consulted with a number of left-of-center organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Environmental Defense Fund. [12] McKibben has additionally founded environmentalist organization 350.org and has participated in the People’s Climate Marches movement. [13] [14]

Third Act has a volunteer advisory council that guides its activities. The council is led by Akaya Windwood, who is affiliated with the Just Economy Institute and founded New Universal, a group that “centers human wisdom in the wisdom of brown womxn.” [15]

Longtime left-wing activist Heather Booth is the chair of Third Act. [16] Booth founded pro-abortion group JANE in 1965, served as the director of the NAACP National Voter Fund in 2000, and helped found the Campaign for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2005. [17]

References

  1. Booth, Heather and McKibben, Bill. “Op-Ed: We’re old, we’re progressive and we vote.” Los Angeles Times. September 26, 2022. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-09-26/progressive-older-voters-mark-kelly-mandela-barnes. Reposted to Yahoo: https://news.yahoo.com/op-ed-were-old-were-100051647.html. ^
  2. “Contact.” Third Action. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://thirdact.org/contact/. ^
  3. Cotton, Emma. “Bill McKibben launches ‘Third Act’ to rally older Americans around climate changed.” VTDigger. September 2, 2022. https://vtdigger.org/2021/09/02/bill-mckibben-launches-third-act-to-rally-older-americans-around-climate-change/. ^
  4. “Contact.” Third Action. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://thirdact.org/contact/. ^
  5. “Why Third Act.” Third Act. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://thirdact.org/why-third-act/. ^
  6. Booth, Heather and McKibben, Bill. “Op-Ed: We’re old, we’re progressive and we vote.” Los Angeles Times. September 26, 2022. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-09-26/progressive-older-voters-mark-kelly-mandela-barnes. Reposted to Yahoo: https://news.yahoo.com/op-ed-were-old-were-100051647.html. ^
  7. “Why Third Act.” Third Act. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://thirdact.org/why-third-act/. ^
  8. Cotton, Emma. “Bill McKibben launches ‘Third Act’ to rally older Americans around climate changed.” VTDigger. September 2, 2022. https://vtdigger.org/2021/09/02/bill-mckibben-launches-third-act-to-rally-older-americans-around-climate-change/ ^
  9. [1] “What we do.” Third Act. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://thirdact.org/what-we-do/. ^
  10. [1] Booth, Heather and McKibben, Bill. “Op-Ed: We’re old, we’re progressive and we vote.” Los Angeles Times. September 26, 2022. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-09-26/progressive-older-voters-mark-kelly-mandela-barnes. Reposted to Yahoo: https://news.yahoo.com/op-ed-were-old-were-100051647.html. ^
  11. O’Brien, Kevin. “The Violence of Climate Change: Lessons of Resistance from Nonviolent Activists.” Georgetown University Press. 2017. Accessed March 15, 2018. https://books.google.com/books?id=OvcmDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA22&lpg=PA22&dq=%22the+first+popular+book+about+climate+change.%E2%80%9D+and+%22end+of+nature%22&source=bl&ots=2JK0k0ehig&sig=DuJ9FJSxyFbX4ocPTiUO1rLCjFw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjwlO7SxO7ZAhWHzVMKHcqrB0UQ6AEILDAB#v=onepage&q=%22the%20first%20popular%20book%20about%20climate%20change.%E2%80%9D%20and%20%22end%20of%20nature%22&f=false ^
  12. Nisbet, Matthew. “Nature’s Prophet: Bill McKibben as Journalist, Public Intellectual and Activist.” Harvard University Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public, Discussion Paper Series. Accessed March 15, 2018. https://shorensteincenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/D-78-Nisbet1.pdf ^
  13. Hestres, Luis. “Preaching to the choir: Internet-mediated advocacy, issue public mobilization, and climate change.” New Media & Society. 2014. Accessed March 15, 2018. http://www.luishestres.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Hestres-New-Media-Society-2014.pdf. ^
  14. Ludden, Jennifer. “Marchers Unite To Take On Trump’s Climate Policies.” NPR. April 29, 2017. Accessed March 15, 2018. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/04/29/526179637/thousands-of-marchers-expected-to-take-on-trumps-climate-policies. ^
  15. “Who We Are.” Third Act. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://thirdact.org/who-we-are/. ^
  16. Booth, Heather and McKibben, Bill. “Op-Ed: We’re old, we’re progressive and we vote.” Los Angeles Times. September 26, 2022. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-09-26/progressive-older-voters-mark-kelly-mandela-barnes. Reposted to Yahoo: https://news.yahoo.com/op-ed-were-old-were-100051647.html. ^
  17. Who We Are.” Third Act. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://thirdact.org/who-we-are/. ^
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