Yale '61 Classmates' Intergenerational Climate Initiative

Please sign up and participate in this initiative, and please encourage your significant other, your children and grandchildren to join you. We want this to be an intergenerational initiative to the extent possible. By registering, you will also receive alerts and activities planned. (Further information continues below.) Thank you.

    Background and Objective of this Initiative

    Over the 60 years since we graduated from Yale, our lives have been enriched by all the products that fossil fuels have made possible, from powering the cars we have driven to the plane trips we have taken, to the plastics used in the hospitals that have helped keep us alive, to the products that have added convenience to almost every aspect of our lives.

    All these benefits, however, have come with serious, unintended consequences, namely, global warming and climate change. Global warming and climate change have a very high probability of substantially reducing the quality of the lives of our grandchildren and their children. The best estimates of global temperature rise between 2020 and 2050 are between 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit more than today, and as high as 7 degrees Fahrenheit more by 2100, a rise in the earth’s temperature that would wipe out much of the earth’s population a mere 80 years from now. The Yale’61 Classmates’ Climate Initiative is an opportunity to take actions to reduce the likelihood that this will happen and that our grandchildren and their children will enjoy lives comparable to the lives we have lived.

    How we will move forward

    This is not a class initiative but an opportunity for those classmates who resonate with this call to action to play an active role in being part of the climate solution. Classmates will be able to sign up at our virtual reunion following the presentation on the topic during our virtual reunion June 4-5, 2021 by Yale Professor Dan Esty and a panel of our classmates including Jim Tripp and Wilford Welch, and moderated by classmate Colin Bradford. We then plan to have regular calls with those classmates who have shown interest, and report our progress to our classmates at each mini-reunion. We encourage you to include your children and grandchildren in this initiative.

    What we will do

    We will pursue actions that will result in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at the national level, and in the states, the cities and towns where we live – and in our households. We will do so by the conscious consumer choices we make, the transportation choices we make, the investment and philanthropic decisions we make and the governmental and corporate policies we support. Attached are examples of such actions. We recognize that reliance on properly functioning markets is the most effective way to achieve this goal.

    Wilford Welch and Jim Tripp, Climate Initiative Co-Chairs

    Yale ’61 Intergenerational Climate Initiative – Examples of Actions Classmates Can Take

    During the next ten years, our success or failure, as individuals, communities, and as a nation, in reducing our use of fossil fuels, and thus CO2 emissions, will determine the world our children and grandchildren will live in.

    For those of us who embrace this challenge, our first step is to become aware of which actions we rather unconsciously take every day that contribute to the release of fossil fuel gasses, and to choose where we want to make reductions over the days and years ahead.

    The following are examples of some of the areas we will explore as a group over the next year, and hopefully over the next decade until our 70th reunion, to help reduce fossil fuel emissions. Many of the actions you might choose to take will save you money, and all of them will give you the satisfaction of knowing that you are not part of the climate problem but doing your part to be part of the solution. Your children and grandchildren will thank you.

    1. Transportation

    Example: Take advantage of the substantial government subsidies that will soon be available if you buy an electric car.
    Example: Work to get EV charging stations installed in your neighborhood.
    Example: Bike. where feasible, instead of using your car. It is better for you and for the planet.

    2. Home energy

    Example: Switch to LED lightbulbs

    Example: Sign up with your energy supplier to receive 100% of your electricity from renewable sources of energy. If your energy supplier does not offer such a program, form a group of consumers to demand it, and get your legislators to pass legislation to make such an option available. Many utilities around the country offer this option.

    3. Shopping and food choices

    Example: Buy locally, especially at farmers markets. You will not only be eating more healthy, fresh food, and less processed food, but will be reducing the fossil fuel emissions generated by the planes, boats and trucks that deliver most food products found in national food chains that are often transported from thousands of miles away.

    Example: Reduce your intake of beef from cows that grow up in factory farm feed lots, and only buy free-range grass-fed beef at home or when you eat in restaurants.

    4. Investments

    Example: Divest from all fossil fuel related investments, and invest in wind, solar or other renewable sources of energy.

    5. Philanthropy

    Example: Support the many not for-profit-organizations, (NGOs), working to move us to a renewable future, such as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and The Climate Reality Project, which are among the many hard-working organizations to choose from.

    Example: Become a tree ambassador by contributing to OneTreePlanted.org if you are interested in removing CO2 out of the atmosphere by planning trees. Or, if you are intrigued by the promise of regenerative agriculture, contribute to KissTheGround.com.


    Example: Vote using a global warming/climate change lens in all local, state and national elections. If a candidate asking for your vote indicates that they are supportive of continued oil and gas exploration, tell them that you will work to make sure they do not get elected.