Climate Action Across Generations

30 Apr 2021

This event, hosted by the ISS21 Ageing Research Cluster, explored climate activism and attitudes to environmental issues across different generations.

Dr Tracey Skillington opened the event with a paper on the experience of ecological grief and climate anxiety, and how these can be a stimulus for action on climate change. She outlined some of the legal challenges that have been mounted by citizens against their governments' inaction on environmental issues. These included, for example, a case lodged in 2020 by the Senior Women for Climate Protection with the European Court of Human Rights against the Swiss Government for its failure to keep emissions levels within sustainable targets and, in doing so, violating their rights to health and life. 

In a wide ranging presentation, Terri Morrisey looked at attitudes to climate change across different age groups and countries. She argued that concern about the environment is not a recent phenomenon - it was, for example, evident in a number of movements during the 1960s. The seminar also captured the opinions of senior citizens active in advocacy for Climate Action through a discussion with Frank Dorr and Eileen Lynch, two of the founding members of Elders for Earth.  

A recording of the event is available here

The event was chaired by Dr Annalisa Setti and Dr Edel Walsh, co-convenors of the ISS21 Ageing Research Cluster. The discussion with Elders for Earth was led by Asha Woodhouse, Environmental Studies student & incoming president of the UCC Students' Union. 


  • Dr Tracey Skillington (Department of Sociology & Criminology, UCC). Dr Skillington has a long-standing interest in issues of justice that arise in relation to global climate change, cosmopolitanism and transnational democracy. She has published two monographs relating to these topics and is currently finishing a third on climate trauma and crisis-led societal learning. 
  • Terri Morrisey is Chair and Director of This Is..., an international organisation and leadership development practice, co-founded in 2004, with Dr Richard Plenty. In 2019 they facilitated the first global summit of psychology associations in Lisbon on 'Psychology and Global Health: Leaders in Climate Change'. Terri was CEO of the Psychological Society of Ireland from 2015 to 2019.   She is currently Innovation Chair of the Advisory Board of the Go Green Routes Horizon project (2020-2024)  
  • Frank Dorr and Eileen Lynch (representatives from Elders for Earth/SHEP Earth Aware). Elders for Earth was set up in 2019, as an initiative of SHEP Earth Aware, a section of the community well-being and development organisation SHEP (The Social and Health Education Project) which has its headquarters in Cork.  The purpose of Elders for Earth is to allow people who are concerned about climate and environmental issues to join together to make their voices heard, especially by politicians and other people in power.  

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30