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Senior Climate Activists Stop Dirty Banks

by Kenny Stancil
"We will not go to our graves quietly knowing that the financial institutions in our own communities continue to fund the climate crisis," said longtime environmentalist Bill McKibben.
Thousands of seniors outraged at big banks for continuing to underwrite the expansion of coal, oil, and gas projects took to the streets in cities across the United States on Tuesday to demand that financial institutions "stop funding climate chaos."

Held 24 hours after United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres—citing the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—called for an end to fossil fuel financing, the "Stop Dirty Banks" national day of action was organized by Third Act, an alliance of activists over the age of 60 co-founded by veteran campaigner Bill McKibben, and more than 50 other progressive advocacy groups.
--via Common Dreams

The first elderly-led mass climate demonstration in U.S. history, which featured more than 100 rallies around the country, aimed to pressure financial institutions to stop bankrolling the planet-heating pollution that scientists have linked to worsening extreme weather.

Despite pledging to put themselves and their clients on a path to "net-zero" greenhouse gas emissions, the world's 60 largest private banks dumped $4.6 trillion into coal, oil, and gas projects from 2016 to 2021. Just four U.S. financial giants—JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America—are responsible for a quarter of all fossil fuel financing identified since the Paris agreement entered into force.

"We're going to hit the streets and banks today in a wave of gray power," McKibben continued. "We will be colorful and noisy but our message is serious: We want the banks to move out of fossil fuels. The lives and livelihoods of our children and grandchildren depend on a drastic change and banks are the key to this."

In Washington, D.C., participants continued a 24-hour "rocking chair rebellion" that began Monday. In New York City, protesters of all ages shut down traffic. They also used giant mock scissors to "cut up" a cardboard credit card.

"By continuing to finance fossil fuel expansion, Wall Street banks undermine our ability to meet our climate goals, and contradict their own climate pledges," said Ben Cushing, director of the Sierra Club's Fossil-Free Finance campaign. "These demonstrations are only the beginning of what each of us can do to hold big banks accountable for their role in the climate crisis."
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