When an older Member of Parliament decided to interrupt MP Chlöe Swarbrick, they didn't know what was about to hit them.
New Zealand's Parliament is in the midst of passing Imperative Legislation to protect the environment and slow down or mitigate the effects of climate change. Chlöe Swarbrick, a Member of Parliament at only 25 years old, was speaking to a full Parliament about the Zero Carbon Bill, a piece of legislation developed in order to curb carbon emissions and achieve a target of zero emissions by the year 2050, when she was rudely interrupted by an older heckler. Completely unfazed, in response to the ignorant remark, Swarbrick simply responded, "Okay, Boomer," CNN reports.
The phrase, "Okay, Boomer" has become a popular way for young adults, especially those who belong to Generation Z, to respond to impolite, insulting, and even factually incorrect statements made by those from the Baby Boomer generation. The New York Times describes the phrase as "a rallying cry for millions of fed up kids." While older adults try to argue that the phrase is ageist and erases any room for debate, younger generations have decided that they only wish to engage in debate when it is fruitful, meaningful, and can make impact in some way or form. Therefore, the phrase has become an important tool in the young activist toolbox.
Before she was rudely interrupted by the heckler, Swarbrick, a member of New Zealand's progressive Green Party, was discussing the climate emergency and how it will affect her generation as well as future generations to come. "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," she affirmed. "My generation and the generations after me do not have that luxury. In the year 2050, I will be 56 years old. Yet, right now, the average age of this 52nd Parliament is 49 years old."
25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker Chlöe Swarbrick was giving a speech supporting a climate crisis bill when she was heckled by an older member of Parliament. She simply said, "OK boomer," and kept talking, unfazed. https://t.co/czzEBE0Biu pic.twitter.com/JqCqp042vH— CNN (@CNN) November 7, 2019
That was right about when someone decided to heckle her and she stated, unfazed, "Okay, Boomer." In video footage of the exchange, a fellow Member of Parliament can be spotted behind her, chuckling once she is done responding. It was only later that Swarbrick realized that perhaps her statements had offended some people. Therefore, she took to Facebook to respond to the haters. She wrote, "Today I have [learned] that responding succinctly and in perfect jest to somebody heckling you about your age as you speak about the impact of climate change on your generation with the literal title of their generation makes some people very mad. So I guess millennials ruined humor. That, or we just need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and abstain from avocados. That's the joke." Referring pointedly to some long-running jokes that Baby Boomers have used to silence Millennials and Generation Z, Swarbrick showed the Boomer generation that it's perhaps time to listen more intently rather than rudely interrupting.