Berkshire environmental activists will urge locals to divest from … – WAMC

Written by Amanda

Berkshire environmental activists will urge locals to divest from …  WAMC

Susan Purser of Becket is a member of the organization behind Tuesday’s action.

“350 is the climate group that Bill McKibben has organized probably 10 years ago, maybe more, to address climate issues around the world, actually,” she told WAMC. “It’s a worldwide organization. In Massachusetts, it has its own state organization, 350 Mass, that has probably 12 different nodes within it.”

The Berkshire chapter of 350 Mass will hold a standout in downtown Pittsfield at Park Square Tuesday. It’s one of 90 events being held nationwide.

“The goal is to encourage people to close their accounts with the big four banks – Citibank, Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo – that invest in fossil fuel infrastructure, thus, climate chaos, and open accounts with local community banks and credit unions,” said Purser.

The Banking On Climate Chaos Fossil Fuel Finance Report of 2022 shows that those banks continue to invest hundreds of billions of dollars into fossil fuels even as the planet continues its dangerous warming.

Purser says the goal is to connect the dots between a seemingly innocuous choice about where to bank and the looming existential threat of climate change.

“When you put your money in a local or regional bank, it’s used to lend money to other members of your community for mortgages, business investments, and other local enterprises,” she explained. “But when people invest money in bank accounts and credit cards with the top four banks, the banks often use that money to invest in fossil fuel infrastructure projects, such as pipelines to tar sands projects, oil drilling, which continues our dependence on carbon-based fuels and further contributes to destabilizing our climate. These huge investments by the four banks should really be used for clean energy like wind, solar, geothermal, so, we really need the public to make the connection between where they bank and how that affects the climate. So, moving your money to a local or regional bank or credit union, we really invest in our local community, and it shows the big banks that we’re not interested in putting our money into the fossil fuel infrastructure anymore.”

From increasingly common extreme weather events to melting polar ice caps, evidence of a climate in crisis is everywhere. NASA studies show that Antarctica has lost 150 billion metric tons of ice per year since 2002. A January report by the World Meteorological Organization says that the last eight years have been the warmest on record globally due to greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat.

“We’re really at a tipping point where, you know, we’ve got to start making serious adjustments to our lifestyles to where we invest, to our national projects,” said Purser. “We can see that the Biden administration just made a decision to allow oil drilling on the North Slope in Alaska– Clearly that’s continuing to go in the wrong direction.”

Experts say the climate crisis disproportionately impacts racially and ethnically marginalized groups that have been subjected to colonial domination, as illustrated in a 2022 report by former United Nations special rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance Tendayi Achiume. Purser says Tuesday’s demonstration is about showing people that there are actionable ways to divest from industries that profit from the fossil fuels driving the climate crisis.

“HSBC, which is a largest European bank, I believe, announced that it will make no new loans for coal or oil or gas projects, and would seek to invest $1 trillion in clean energy by 2030,” said Purser. “That’s the kind of refocus that we need for these big banks. Our demonstration on Tuesday is really a way to send a signal to these banks that, you know, we’re really concerned about this, and we’re going to cut up our cards and take action on this. So they need to change their, their direction.”

350 Mass will demonstrate in downtown Pittsfield from 4:30 to 6 on Tuesday.

WAMC reached out to Citibank, Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo for comment on this story.

Source: wamc.org

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Hi there, I am Amanda and I work as an editor at impactinvesting.ai;  if you are interested in my services, please reach me at amanda.impactinvesting.ai

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