3.21.23  National Day of Action to Stop Dirty Banks

Third Act, nationwide, called for a day to focus attention on the large American banks underwriting the climate crisis. Since the Paris Climate Talks, JP Morgan Chase has invested $382 billion in fossil fuels, the death making industry.  They are followed by Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and CitiBank, which together account for 1/4 of all funding for this industry. What can a person who wants a livable climate for their children and grandchildren do?  There are many things we cannot control as individuals, but you certainly can decide which financial institution holds and profits from your money.

Eight actions took place across Massachusetts. 350 Mass’s Climate Courage picked up the baton and ran with it for a sizable Boston action. In keeping with their general belief that if there is no fun in action, no one will return, they shaped the event.  With Sue Donaldson at the helm, they simultaneously began to plan the action and connect with other like-minded organizations to participate and co-sponsor.  The result was a powerful, visually arresting, loud, and very well attended event. Oh yes, a good time was had by all, while encouraging people to cut up their Bad Bank credit cards and then – guided by our Stop and Steer the Money working group – find a responsible financial institution. Check out this handout for tips to find a climate-friendly credit card.

Allies from Elders Climate Action, Third Act, Mothers Out Front, Sierra Club, XR’s Red Rebels were all represented as we gathered in front of the Downtown Crossing Chase Bank. BABAM (Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians) drew more with their dynamic music.  A giant globe with flame signs surrounding it represented our fight, and colorful signage made the message clear.  Monte Pearson emceed the event, explaining why we were there and inviting a moment of silence as the Red Rebels, our movement’s oracles, mourned the lost corporate souls of the banks, and the obvious earth-threatening results of their actions. Then folks came to the microphone and explained why they were cutting up their credit cards, prior to eviscerating them to great cheers.  A Bad Banker showed up to explain that his job was not to protect the planet, but to make money for his investors. He was loudly booed off the platform. The pièce de résistance came when Paul Shorb approached a 4X3-foot Chase credit card with an electric saw (powered by renewable energy, of course), pulled down his protective visor, and cut it in half.  Finally, Roger Rosen led us all in song, and then the crowd progressed around  the corner to the Bank of America for a repeat of the action.

This was just one of over a hundred actions that took place on 3.21.23.  Let us hope that these banks are feeling the reverberations.


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Environmental storyteller