Today, Climate Action Muskoka encourages people to say no thanks to ‘fossil banks’

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Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) activists are joining forces with groups all across Canada on Friday, January 29 to say Fossil Banks? No Thanks! to the Big 5 Canadian banks. CAM is inviting everyone to call, fax, and email their local bank branches to protest the Big 5 banks’ ongoing destructive fossil fuel investments and loans.

“This is our opportunity to act locally by adding our voices to amplify the national Fossil Banks, No Thanks campaign,” says Sue McKenzie, CAM co-founder.

Canadian banks are among the biggest investors in fossil fuels worldwide and have poured $481 billion into fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement, according to the 2020 Banking on Climate Change Fossil Fuel Finance Report. The breakdown of fossil investments for each bank are as follows: TD $43.7 billion, RBC $40.1 billion, SCOTIA $39.1 billion, BMO $36.7 billion, and CIBC $32.4 billion. Three Canadian banks have even made the “Dirty Dozen” Worst Banks Since the Paris Agreement (2015-2019) list. The tar sands are completely reliant on Canadian banks.

While recent stay-at-home orders keep climate protesters out of the streets, the banks keep pumping money into fossil fuels. While the rest of us are sacrificing to keep our communities safe, the Big 5 are making new loans and investments that are putting the well-being of future generations at risk.

“Slowing climate change is one of the most important things I can do to ensure a bright future for my daughter,” says Matt Lie-Paehlke of Climate Pledge Collective, explaining why he has stepped away from his Ph.D. work to do climate work. “I’ve put aside other goals to help people lower their carbon footprint and get involved in politics—but the flood of money coming out of RBC and other big banks outweighs any small gains I might achieve.”

CAM is also asking Muskokans to join the ongoing BankSwitch campaign: actionnetwork.org/forms/bankswitch.

“The main goal of this campaign is to challenge banks to compete for our custom by cleaning up their own investment policies, not just through greenwashing projects, but by moving investments away from fossil fuels,” states McKenzie.

The concept is simple. You tell your branch manager you’re moving your money to a more responsible financial institution on Earth Day, April 2021. Hopefully, you won’t have to make this move if your bank steps up and makes substantial changes to its investment policies. You will find specific information, letter templates for each bank, and talking points for speaking with bank managers here: climatepledgecollective.org.