Watch CBS News

"OK, boomer": 25-year-old lawmaker shuts down heckling Parliament member during climate speech

"OK, boomer" becomes rallying cry for youth
"OK, boomer" becomes rallying cry for young people fed up with inequality, climate change 09:19

A 25-year-old New Zealand lawmaker shut down a heckler during a climate change speech with a two-word comeback aimed at older people. Chlöe Swabrick, who belongs to the Green Party, silenced a fellow Parliament member by retorting, "OK, boomer" — a phrase popularized by young people to call out folks from the baby boomer generation.

On Tuesday, Swabrick was talking about the Zero Carbon Bill, which aims at cutting carbon emissions to zero by 2050. She pointed out what her age will be when the country meets the goal.

"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," she 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."

After a colleague apparently attempted to interrupt, Swabrick instantly shot back, "OK, boomer," and continued right on with her speech. 

The phrase has grown in into a well-used meme over the last few months, first made popular by users on the social media app TikTok. A New York Times column recently summed it up as a "rallying cry for millions of fed up kids" and said it's used as a reply to "basically any person over 30 who says something condescending about young people — and the issues that matter to them."

Swarbrick revealed in a Facebook post that some people weren't happy about her remark, pointing out the irony of the age battle. "Today I have learnt 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 humour," she added. "That, or we just need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and abstain from avocados. That's the joke."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.