One of the most powerful tools we have as parents and grandparents to demand climate action is directing where our savings and pension plan funds are invested.
All working Canadians are members of at least one of the top 10 pension funds that invest more than $1.6 trillion in retirement savings. Most mortgages, RRSPs and savings accounts are through one of five major Canadian banks.
How banks and pension funds invest those funds is a major factor in how quickly we can transition to a low-carbon economy. Right now, they all invest, to varying degrees but all significantly, in the fossil fuel industry.
Ready to take action? Here are three things you can do right now to press for change.
1. Get some background. Here's a great, easy-to-follow introduction hosted by For Our Kids Toronto, including presentations by Adam Scott of Shift: Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health and Matthew Lie-Paehlke of Climate Pledge Collective.
2. Get in touch with your pension plan and your bank(s). You can do this on your own by making an appointment with your bank manager and contacting your pension plan fund manager. If you're not sure where to start, here's a step-by-step guide from Shift Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health. You can find information about contacting your bank and template letters on the Bank Switch site. Tell your story about why saving for your kids' future doesn't make sense if those savings support the destruction of that future.
3. Get your family and friends together. Bring your kids along when you talk to your bank manager. Host an online discussion with other concerned parents and grandparents. Hold a safely-distanced demonstration weekly in front of your bank. Encourage everyone you know to send their own letters and emails to their banks and pension fund managers.
Most of all, record your actions, share them with your networks, and with For Our Kids so we can amplify your voices. Send us your ideas for collective action, and stay tuned as we develop this campaign over the next few months. You can reach us at hello [at] forourkids [dot] ca