So far, 2024 is beating even 2023 for heat—and 2023 was the hottest year in the last 125,000 years.

Which is why we’re bringing some heat of our own, to the big banks that are the main funders of the fossil fuel industry.

Summer of Heat is centered in New York City—indeed, it’s centered outside Citibank, which has lent 400 billion dollars to Big Oil since the Paris climate accords were signed in 2016. This is venal—the International Energy Agency said in 2021 that all new investment in fossil fuel infrastructure needed to end right then. But it’s also predictable, because the banks (remember Mary Poppins?) care a great deal about money. As we learned from leaked documents a few weeks ago, Citibank told the Federal Reserve last summer that if the planet reached net zero by 2050 it would cost them $3 billion in loan losses to their fossil fuel clients.

Meanwhile, a recent peer-reviewed article in the journal Nature projected that the world economy will see an income reduction of 19% and global annual damages estimated to be about 38 trillion dollars by 2050. So, you’d think if the banks cared about money in the longer term, then they’d care about climate-related financial risks and transitioning their portfolios out of fossil fuels and into a clean energy economy, thereby reducing projected future losses and damages.

But the banks aren’t acting anywhere near fast enough. That’s why the Summer of Heat coalition—including Indigenous groups and frontline communities, environmental justice organizations, youth movements, and yes, us elders—is planning to “turn up the heat” on Citibank and other fossil fuel funders via 12 weeks of sustained disruption in New York City. The first week features an Elders Day on June 13th in NYC, along with a Scientists Day and other themed days. And this will be followed by themed weeks, including Elders Week July 8-13 (in New York City and other locations – more info coming soon!), Youth Week, Frontline Fighters Week, and more.


So, why should you all join in for this effort?

Because we older Americans, taken together, have powerful financial resources. Because we’ve been saving our whole lives, we have something like 2/3 of the country’s wealth—enough that banks and asset managers have to pay attention to us. We are elders—retired union members, teachers, health care professionals, lawyers, as well as parents, grandparents, great aunts and uncles and now activists with decades of life experiences—who are backing up youth fighting for a peaceful, just, and healthy world.

This “Rocking Chair Rebellion” will rise up during Elders Week to demand that Wall Street banks and financiers stop using our savings to bankroll the climate crisis. We are “Fossils Against Fossil Fuels.”

Join us and lots and lots of other people and groups outside these banks this summer to disrupt business as usual.

We’re not going to change these banks overnight. But we have to keep putting them on notice—that began with the actions you pulled off last spring in 100 cities; it continues this summer. Because if the weather is going to be sizzling, then we need to be on fire!


Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben is a founder of Third Act, which organizes people over the age of 60 to work on climate, democracy, and racial justice. He founded the first global grassroots climate campaign,, and serves as the Schumann Distinguished Professor in Residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. In 2014 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel,’ in the Swedish Parliament. He’s also won the Gandhi Peace Award, and honorary degrees from 19 colleges and universities.

He has written over a dozen books about the environment, including his first, The End of Nature, published in 1989. His most recently released book is The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at his Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened.