Guest Blog by Robert Loeb and Harry "Rick" Moody Robert Loeb and Rick Moody are Third Actors who are organizing AARP members to encourage AARP to play a vital role in advancing climate solutions and address the well-being of older Americans facing climate extremes.

Hurricane Ian flooding damage in Florida

Did you know there is a movement brewing among the membership of AARP to bring the organization into the climate fight?  As the largest non-profit dues-paying membership organization in the world, with 38 million members, across all the partisan divides, having AARP step-up on climate advocacy could be a political game-changer.  Why? Because AARP’s membership comprises roughly 17% of the voting public, of which roughly 1/3 are Democrats, 1/3 are Republicans and 1/3 are Independents.

We are both supporters of Third Act, members of AARP, and one of us is former staff of AARP. We know well the political power of AARP to influence key decision-makers and policies. Without AARP’s support, for example, we would not have passed the Affordable Care Act nor the prescription drug price limits in the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act. We also know well that AARP listens to its membership.

So, we are asking Third Actors who are also AARP members to sign this petition as a friendly yet urgent message of encouragement to AARP leadership to play a vital role in advancing climate solutions. Getting involved with climate advocacy clearly fits with AARP’s mission to fight for older people (50-plus) and help them choose how they live and age. While AARP’s official policy book (2020-2021) includes work to prevent and reduce the effects of climate change, we think there is more that AARP can and should do to truly address the well-being of older Americans as we face climate impacts. Knowing that we have a large contingent of AARP members within Third Act will also strengthen Third Act’s ability to develop a productive and collaborative relationship with AARP.

Click on button to sign the petition
If you are an AARP member, click on the image to sign the petition and add your voice to the thousands who have already asked AARP to join the climate fight.

Movement on Climate at AARP, Opportunities to Accelerate

Interestingly, we’re already seeing some real movement at AARP.  Check out this recent excellent piece funded by national AARP on the climate impacts on retirement security and the recent podcast on heat impacts in California from a new AARP CA podcast service.

The podcast is a real milestone in AARP’s climate work.  It’s the first time that any official educational initiative from AARP has talked not just about the need to adapt to the reality of climate change and its impacts (see this frontpage article from last June’s flagship AARP Bulletin), but has highlighted the cause of the problem as the burning of fossil fuels and the need for government action to move faster to clean energy.  This progression is inevitable because the effects of climate change are beginning to hit home, especially for older people.

There are several major roles that AARP can play as the organization considers how it can grow its work on climate change: public education, policy advocacy, and pilot projects, among others.


Public Education

While the IRA is now law, we will not achieve even the projected 40% reduction in carbon emissions and climate pollution unless homeowners and landlords are educated quickly and effectively as to how to take advantage of the financial incentives in the law to help consumers (including renters) realize available energy savings on their homes and cars.

With the largest circulation magazine in the country, AARP has the consumer educational publishing infrastructure to make a real difference. AARP could easily mount a nation-wide educational campaign to its 38 million members to assure full use of the consumer incentives paid for in the IRA that will help homeowners, landlords, and renters navigate getting solar, buying a heat pump, using battery backup power, and buying and charging an electric vehicle at home – all of which will help reduce carbon emissions and lower consumers’ energy costs. This message will resonate with AARP’s audience given that about 80 percent of older Americans (65+) own their own homes (though there are racial disparities) and more than 55 percent of homeowners are age 55+. 


Policy Advocacy

The national AARP has recently approved climate lobbying by selected state offices, and these offices are used to weighing in on state energy utility policy and other state legislative issues facing seniors. This support from state AARP offices could help push state utilities to take advantage of the additional incentives available to convert to clean energy, as well as invest in needed electricity grid improvements to handle more renewable power. Lastly, Third Actors who are also AARP members who sign this AARP member petition may join AARP volunteers in each state to support work on these and future climate issues. 


Pilot Programs 

Pilot projects at the AARP state office level are the way national AARP tests the waters in new program areas.  While  AARP is not an environmental organization, it has begun to realize that its core mission of “protecting the health, financial security and livable communities” of seniors and their families is going to require ending economic reliance on fossil fuels as well as mitigating the unavoidable damage of climate disruption that is already here and already affecting the well-being of seniors.

AARP member volunteers have targeted working with CA AARP to create a pilot climate educational and advocacy program, but they are also looking to find at least one AARP office in a purple or red state (FL, TX, AZ, CO, or NV most likely) to essentially mirror what CA AARP is doing.  Ultimately, volunteer organizers (aided by sympathetic younger AARP staff members) see AARP addressing the climate emergency the same way the organization addressed the COVID emergency:  by re-assigning significant numbers of national and state staff and financial, educational, and lobbying resources to work on a health threat that has disproportionately begun affecting older citizens.


Please Sign the Petition Asking AARP to Step-Up On Climate

As Third Actors and as members of AARP, we are very worried about the climate crisis and we want actions in our lifetimes. That’s why we like Third Act’s slogan: No Time to Waste!. And we are excited about the unique role that AARP can play in making sure that Americans take full advantage of the IRA to cut carbon emissions and safeguard our future.

To help build broad public support for a national climate mobilization, we need organizations like AARP to step-up and be a leader in advancing climate solutions. 

So if you are an AARP member, please join us in signing the petition urging AARP to take the lead in helping secure what we seniors want most: to leave as our legacy a livable world for all generations to come.

For more information or if you have contacts within AARP, please email us at:


Robert Loeb is a retired social entrepreneur in the field of advocacy communications. He founded the Telecommunications Cooperative Network (TCN)–the first consortium of charitable institutions for cooperative purchasing of state-of-the-art communications and information technology–where he pioneered the use of program-related investment loans from the Ford Foundation andCarnegie Corporation to save millions of dollars for thousands of non-profits on their communications costs.  Mr.  Loeb was also a founder of Breira, the first nationwide coalition of religious, institutional, and cultural leaders in the American Jewish Community that helped build the foundation for US support for a two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.


Harry “Rick” Moody, Ph.D., publishes the online newsletter “Climate Change in an Aging Society,” and is the author of the forthcoming book of the same name. He retired as Vice President and Director of Academic Affairs for AARP in Washington, DC. Dr. Moody previously served as Executive Director of the Brookdale Center on Aging at Hunter College and Chairman of the Board of Elderhostel (now Road Scholar). Dr. Moody is also the author of over 100 scholarly articles, as well as a number of books.