Call to Join Third Act’s 3.21.23 Day of Action

Third Act Faith
Posted Feb 6, 2023

“The call to address the climate crisis is a communal call… You and I and everyone who are alive today have been given the opportunity to be part of what is the most consequential generation of human beings that has ever lived. The climate crisis places an inescapable moral claim on our generation and, therefore, on every one of us.”  (Jim Antal, author of “Climate Church, Climate World,” and Third Act member)

Third Act, whose members are age 60+, is organizing a “Day of Action” that will give all of us, regardless of age, an opportunity on March 21 to assert that moral claim and pressure the “Big Four” banks (Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and Wells Fargo) to stop bankrolling the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. And Third Act is not doing this alone. To date, 29 other organizations have signed on as partners, including GreenFaith, the Sierra Club and the Hip Hop Caucus.

Among those working on behalf of the 3.21.23 campaign are the members of Third Act Faith, an interfaith “working group” of laity and clergy from across the nation and denominations who bring a faith-based perspective and presence to Third Act’s work. To that end, they are at work on creating a liturgy specifically for the Day of Action, under the leadership of the Rev. Jerry Cappel, an Episcopal priest and director of The Center for Deep Green Faith, and they also are encouraging its members and their faith communities to be involved, where possible, in local 3.21.23 actions. (The bulk of Third Act’s work is done in affinity- or profession-based “working groups” such as Third Act Faith and location-based groups.)

Third Act was founded a little over a year ago by longtime climate activist Bill McKibben to encourage the nation’s elders to join with others to address the two major threats to our way of life: the assaults on democracy and the planet. Who is better suited to work on this? As McKibben has pointed out, elders hold 70 percent of the nation’s private wealth; they bring skills and abilities gained through a lifetime of experience; they vote in large numbers; and they are more likely to have time to volunteer.  But more importantly: they are motivated by love of our children, grandchildren, and the generations beyond to leave a hopeful legacy. ( “Call It Codger Power.” NYT, Feb. 7, 2022)

What is the “3.21.23 Day of Action”?

Quite simply, it will be a constellation of local, nonviolent activities held in communities across the country to bring attention to the looming climate crisis. According to a UN report, by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by at least 45% just to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, including more frequent and severe droughts, heat waves and rainfall. One way to help accomplish that goal is to stop the expansion of fossil fuel extraction and sharply decrease fossil fuel use worldwide. (Check out Bill McKibben’s blog to learn more.)

A local action may be something as simple as writing letters to the editor. It could involve signing and recruiting others to sign Third Act’s Banking on Our Future pledge, informing the banks of the signers’ intentions to stop (or never begin) doing business with them. A local action may also involve taking direct action. Some groups, for example, plan to meet with branch bank managers to talk about the issue. Some are organizing gatherings to cut up credit cards literally or symbolically outside these banks or some “iconic” place impacted by climate change. (One group reportedly is planning an underwater protest at a coral reef.)

Most but not all local actions are being hosted by Third Act’s working groups in states and communities from Maine to San Francisco and many places between. But membership in Third Act is not required. The organization is making it easy for people to connect with a local action as well as to organize one. An online interactive map has been published on Third Act’s website. And to help organize an action, Third Act has prepared a comprehensive Event Guide that offers an abundance of ideas, information, music and art to make this a fun, educational and joyous event.

For climate-concerned Episcopalians, this means that they and their parishes and dioceses have an opportunity to publicly acknowledge – on March 21 – that faith communities have a moral responsibility to serve their neighbor, who, as Jim Antal has observed, includes not only the people who live nearby but also all of creation for generations to come. For more information about Third Act Faith, visit its Facebook page and check out its newsletters, Third Acts of Faithand Third Act Faith Going Deep. Or contact