Tuesday saw protests across the country – many that included the use of rocking chairs – to denounce the funding of fossil fuel technologies by some of the largest banks in the United States.
People in Reno were part of the movement and gathered to let big banks know they no longer want their money to support investment in fossil fuels. More than 40 people met at Powning Veterans’ Memorial Park to go over the plan, which included marching to the Chase bank at 200 S. Virginia St. and demanding that their money not be used for these investments.
One of the groups who planned the event was Third Act, an environmental and pro-democracy activism organization for people over 60 (thus the rocking chairs). The group has an active chapter in Nevada.
“Some people today are closing their accounts. They say, ‘we’ve had enough,’” said Kit Miller, a member of Third Act’s Nevada working group. “We realize that our credit card is funded by Chase and we’re not going to take it anymore. Other people are giving the banks notice that if they don’t shape up if they don’t change their ways many, many more people will close their accounts.”
The people who attended said they wanted to let the banks know that if they are not taken seriously, they will take their money to a smaller or cleaner bank, such as a credit union.
Some people cut up their credit cards at the bank to make that message clear.
“Chase is one of the four dirty banks,” Miller said. “Together the four dirty banks have given over a trillion dollars to the fossil fuel industry in the past few years and if we don’t stop funding fossil fuels we’re not going to have a planet.
“We’re all here because we’re concerned about our grandchildren, our children, our planet, and if the dirty banks don’t stop funding the fossil fuel industry, we’re all going to go down together,” she added.
While Third Act is focused on an older generation, younger people were also present to make their voices heard.
“It’s so fantastic to see the young people standing up and fighting for their planet,” Miller said. “That’s one of the things that Third Act is about is helping our young people save the planet because we haven’t done that. We have a responsibility to fight for our planet.”
Miller said she and others from Third Act wanted more people to think about where their money is being invested – especially if it’s at one of the four banks that are the biggest fossil fuel investors: Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America and Chase.
“We want people to divest. Take their money out. Put the banks on notice,” she said. “Tell them what you’re concerned about. Tell them you won’t put up with it anymore. Tell them for your grandchildren. We’re done with this, we’re not going to keep investing in dirty banks.”
The crowd inside Chase bank was calm and holding up signs while members of the group spoke with the branch manager inside one of the offices. Some police officers were present, but nothing occurred between them and the protestors.
According to Reuters, the world’s top banks gave the fossil fuel industry $742 billion in 2021 which was similar to the year before.