LOS ANGELES — At a time when most people are skating into retirement, 65-year-old Laughlin Artz is on a roll of a different kind.
“It’s exciting. It’s fun and a little dangerous,” Artz said.
He was a six-figure management consultant. But after weathering the storms of corporate life he quit to become a climate activist on wheels.
For weeks now, he’s been crisscrossing the country talking to people about what they can do to help and documenting his journey along the way.
On a sunny fall morning, Artz made his way to Venice Beach — a must-stop on his tour, which is aptly named, “Skate of the Union.”
“We want to get attention,” he said, “and what I found is that some idiot on a skateboard gets a lot more attention than when I say, ‘Hey do you want to hear about the end of the climate crisis?’”
His goal is to raise $100,000 for his app, 2030 or Bust, which is aimed at empowering ordinary people to end the climate crisis. So far, he’s received about $15,000 in donations.
He’s been skating up to 17 miles a day, an impressive feat for someone who until recently didn’t even own a skateboard.
“I got a longboard, right? It’s built for distance not tricks, my one trick is, don’t die,” he said.
It all started after he met a United Nations official who told him in no uncertain terms the planet was near the point of no return. Not willing to accept defeat, Artz put on a helmet and began sounding the alarm.
“Nobody wants to hear they have cancer but if you have cancer you really want to hear you have cancer so that you can deal with the reality of having cancer,” he said.
He’s been staying in cheap hotels along the way. And even though the beds aren’t always comfortable, he’s never slept more soundly.