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NZ Lawmaker Invokes ‘OK Boomer’ in Climate Change Speech

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A 25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker made international headlines in early November when she invoked a generational rallying cry on the floor of the Parliament: “OK, boomer.”

During her speech in support of the Zero Climate Bill, Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick called attention to the age disparity in New Zealand’s government body, criticizing older members of Parliament on inaction around climate change:

“Mr. Speaker, how many world leaders, for how many decades have seen and known what is coming but have decided that it is more politically expedient to keep it behind closed doors. My generation and the generations after me do not have that luxury,” Swarbrick said. “In the year 2050, I will be 56 years old. Yet, right now, the average age of this 52nd Parliament is 49 years old.”

That’s when another member made an indiscernible retort about her age.

“OK, boomer,” Swarbrick clapped back without missing a beat.

The bill she was advocating for—which passed 119 to one with massive bipartisan support on November 6—commits New Zealand to reducing its carbon emissions to zero by 2050, holding the country to its pledge under the Paris climate accords.

In an interview with New Zealand’s Stuff, Swarbrick explained that the phrase acknowledges, “You cannot win a deeply polarised debate. Facts don’t matter,” calling ‘OK boomer’ a “simple summarisation of collective exhaustion.”

Kaley LaQuea is an award–winning print and digital journalist who’s been creating content since 2008. She’s passionate about economic, environmental and social justice. She has an unhealthy relationship with caffeine and two cats: Totoro and Mononoke.