“We call upon Chase Bank, a $3 trillion company, to do great things with its vast wealth to solve the climate crisis rather than lending it to projects that are contributing to global warming and the resulting catastrophes,” said CARI member Jen Long.
Members of Climate Action Rhode Island (CARI) protested outside a Chase Bank branch in downtown Providence on Tuesday in anticipation of a ribbon cutting for the new location. The ribbon cutting never took place, so the activists gave speeches, chanted, held signs and sang songs on the sidewalk for about 45 minutes.
CARI claims that Between 2016 and 2019 alone, Chase Bank lent $196B for fossil fuel projects and is the top funder for companies extracting or producing coal, oil, gas, Arctic oil and gas, tar sands oil, ultra-deepwater oil and gas, and LNG in the world. Chase is the second largest funder of fracking activity globally.
A 2019 report released by the Rainforest Action Network and other environmental groups shows that several major United States banks have increased their investments in fossil fuels every year since the Paris Agreement in 2016, with Chase Bank by far lending the largest amounts.
“Thanks to Chase Bank opening the first two of an estimated 10-12 Rhode Island branches, money from Rhode Islanders’ checking and savings accounts has begun to flow into these fossil fuel projects,” writes CARI’s Brian Wilder. “We are also calling upon Rhode Islanders to boycott Chase Bank including cutting up their Chase credit cards.”
At 10am, when no crowd gathered for a ribbon cutting, Wilder entered the branch and asked about the ribbon cutting. Wilder was told that there was no ribbon cutting and no ribbon had been planned.
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Chase Bank later released a statement claiming that the ribbon cutting was canceled due to “an internal scheduling conflict” according to the Patch, and that the event will be held at a later date.
“We call upon Chase Bank, a $3 trillion company, to do great things with its vast wealth to solve the climate crisis rather than lending it to projects that are contributing to global warming and the resulting catastrophes,” said CARI member Jen Long. Long then produced a Chase Bank card, and cut it in half outside the bank.
Brian Wilder addressing the crowd outside the bank:
“I’m here because I’m terrified about what’s happening right now in the world and the complete lack of consideration for the environment,” said Layla DiMartino, who came to the protest from South Kingstown. “It’s being completely ignored by the current [Trump] administration.”
CARI member Justin Boyan read a New York Times oped by Bill McKibben, entitled, “Want to Do Something About Climate Change? Follow the Money.”
“No major changes ever have come from government or the top, they come from people,” said Kendra Anderson, a CARI member who is running for State Senate District 31 in Warwick. “We need to show up in these spaces to try and change things.”
“I had the opportunity in 2015 to actually fly over the tar-sands,” said Mary Pendergast. “You have never seen such destruction, this gaping hole in the middle of an arboreal forest. The lives of the First Nation people who live there have been changed drastically…”
“How stupid is it to foul your own nest?”
“I am here fighting for the planet. This is my home. This is where I will raise the future generations of my children and I’m done. I don’t want to raise them in this burning planet. I want to raise them in a healthy planet with healthy ecosystems…”
Peter spoke about the Stop the Money Pipeline, a new initiative to hold Wall Street and big finance like Chase Bank accountable for their role in the climate crisis.
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