Did you know that Canada's big five banks are pouring hundreds of billions into fossil fuels, endangering our kids' future by supercharging the climate crisis?
Did you know that the same banks also financially back projects that violate Indigenous Rights, like the Coastal Gas Link pipeline? (See this letter from over 40 Indigenous women leaders calling on banks to respect Indigenous rights and stop providing financial support for the industry destroying their homelands.)
As parents and grandparents, we are coming together to demand that they change. Here's how you can participate:
1) Send a quick message to your bank's CEO
2) Find Some Friends
You may already be part of a local team or group, or you may want to find a few friends to do this with - there's always strength in numbers, and you have more fun working with others. You can still do this as an individual though.
3) Plan To Make Contact
You may be a customer of one of the big banks, and their branches are everywhere so there's ample opportunity to make contact in some way.
As an individual customer, you can plan to make contact with your branch, expressing your opposition to their funding of fossil fuels. Here's a chart of how much each of the big five are investing - RBC is at the top of the list, so it is a primary focus, but start with whatever bank you use.
This is more than just talking about where your specific RRSPs may be invested - its about your bank's overall policy which needs to change. Tell them you don't want to do business with them if they continue. Ask them to share your message with their superiors. For a deeper dive into contacting your bank, see this page by our friends at Climate Pledge Collective.
In-person actions aren't possible or recommended in lots of places during the pandemic, but there are still things you can do as a group - like planning an online session to write your emails at the same time, or work on scripts and phone your bank managers. You could host an online session to talk with neighbours, friends and family, or watch this great webinar on divestment hosted by For Our Kids Toronto in November.
If you're in a province or territory where you can gather in small, distanced groups, you could hold signs outside your bank branch or get some sidewalk chalk and "walk and chalk" outside various branches (as long as there's no snow!) capturing how much that bank has put into fossil fuels.
4) Involve Your Kids/Grandkids
Do you remember getting your first bank account? Your parents probably helped, and you also probably just ended up at the same bank they were at, not thinking about it very much.
What if we made that moment different, and in keeping with a better future for them?
You could help your kid/grandkid open their first account instead at a credit union which generally don't fund fossil fuels, and tell both them and your bank why you did it. (You'll probably need to make this a joint account, since kids can't do this alone). Tell your bank their future customer base is going to reject them if they keep poisoning the future.
5) Make It Visible
Whether you make contact as an individual or as a group, your impact will expand tenfold if you talk about it afterwards. Share what you did on social media - like Katie did in this facebook video or post pictures, like all of these parents, grandparents, and kids did.
6) Let Us Know
We'd love to hear what you did or plan to do so that we can amplify. Drop us a line to let us know - hello [at] forourkids [dot] ca