“Retirement is a time to rebel!”
Fi Radford is a septuagenarian encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to channel their fear, despair and inertia of climate breakdown into positive, tangible action.
The word ‘retirement’ usually implies sitting back, relaxing and winding down – but Fi’s TEDx talk challenges this assumption, exploring instead the wisdom, experience and free time that older generations in particular, can bring to critical problems.
Fi says, “We, the Elders, have a key role to play. Do all that you can in the active years you have left. We owe it to the children to leave them the best legacy we can – a sustaining, diverse and inhabitable planet”.
One of the earliest members of campaign group Grandparents for a Safe Earth, Fi has spent the last decade committed to environmental activism. Last year, aged 70, Fi joined Extinction Rebellion on the streets of London. Previously a very law-abiding citizen, she was arrested in Oxford Circus, and continues to lead young and old in environmental actions across the country.
In her earlier years Fi studied Modern Languages at Oxford University, worked as a librarian and raised two sons. She has been happily married to her husband Andrew for 50 years.
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Born in 1948, the eldest of four children, Fi went to St Hilda’s College, Oxford on a full grant to study Modern Languages. Shortly afterwards she married Andrew, the young man she met at a speaking compettiton, that she won. Nearly 50 years later they are still together and during that time Fi has worked as a librarian, raised two sons and given her time to a wide variety of voluntary work, including running a Christian retreat house.
Fi’s environmental ‘lightbulb moment’ came while living in France in the early 2000s. It was during this time, when she was engaged in a period of deep spiritual reflection, walking the hills and studying the writing of Marion Woodman and Joanna Macy, that she heard the trees screaming during the heatwave of 2003. Her mounting fear for the natural world and desire to speak out brought her back to Bristol, where she immediately threw herself into environmental activism. A dedicated member of ‘Grandparents for a Safe Earth’, over the last decade she has dressed up as a polar bear, a spider monkey and an orangutan, signed hundreds of petitions, lobbied her MP and occupied the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for six hours in June 2018. Since its launch in October 2018, Fi has been an active member of Extinction Rebellion. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.