Credit: Dean Gorissen
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They've shed the shackles of nine to five, the kids have left the nest, they've got time and — if they're lucky — a healthy retirement fund to spend.
According to Hanson, it is at this stage that some people discover their inner greenie. "They've been caught up in the contents of their lives — kids, jobs, mortgages," he says. "Then all of a sudden they've got time to stop and think."
Green retirees might renovate their house to make it more sustainable, volunteer for environment groups or become actively involved in campaigns.
But McLarensays retirees are one of the more resistant groups when it comes to going green. "Probably because they've been slogging it out for quite some time and they want to enjoy the fruits of their labour by buying a new car or taking an overseas trip," he says.
Hanson is more optimistic and thinks that greying greens are on the rise — which makes sense given those in the first wave of the environment movement are reaching retirement age.
They were the group galvanised in the 1960s when Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, her landmark work on the dangers of chemical pollution.
On February 9, 2007, British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson announced the Virgin Earth Challenge prize — US$25 million to the first person who figures out how to remove man-made greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
"The Earth cannot wait 60 years," he told a news conference in London. "I want a future for my children and my children's children. The clock is ticking."
Meanwhile, Branson's Virgin fleet of aircraft roared across the world's skies spewing out billions of tonnes of potent greenhouse gases.
At Branson's side that day was former US vice-president, Al Gore — the man who took global warming to Hollywood with An Inconvenient Truth.
Later that month he would come under fire for his personal contribution to climate change: a Nashville mansion guzzling 20 times more energy than the average US household, according to the Tennessee Centre for Policy Research in the US.
"As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk," said the Centre's president, Drew Johnson.
Branson and Gore are greenies of the 'green suit' or 'green-collar worker' ilk — entrepreneurs or professionals who are green in their public life but not necessarily at home (good at citizenship but not necessarily household behaviours, according to the Who Cares report).
As Doyle explains, "They've decided that we can't challenge capitalism, so what we've got to do is work with the big parties and work with the big corporations."
However, the impact of the green suits who don't 'walk the walk' should not be dismissed out of hand, according to McLaren.
"I think you need to look at these people as leaders. They're actually moving a very big stone, a dead weight of popular opinion that hasn't been moved for very a long time," he says.
Given people like Branson and Gore might inspire millions of people to take action, McLaren thinks their individual contributions to global warming become insignificant.
We should celebrate this kaleidoscopic nature of the environment movement, Doyle says. "It's been interpreted by so many diverse groups of people — and that's its power," he says. "Its absolute diversity and its ability to engage people across a whole range of fronts."