Yikes! I’m funding fossil fuels! What can I do??                                      

If, like me, you’re frustrated and angry about the persistent lack of political will to move away from fossil fuels and a carbon-based economy, you probably support the divest movement, encouraging businesses and institutions to stop investing in fossil fuels. It’s a no-brainer.

That’s great, and very important – but I’ve realised I need to look closer to home.

The world’s largest banks continue to invest in the fossil fuel industry, ignoring all warnings about impending climate, social and economic chaos. and will continue to do so unless we force change. There may be some decency amongst their board members, but it’s hard to change the course of a huge vessel with just a few small paddles when the engines are chugging smokily straight ahead.

I found a website which makes it easy to rate my own bank in terms of its contribution to a better future. www.fireyourfossilbank.com directs you to an easy-to-use Earth Day website www.switchit.money, which uses a simple tool to check your current bank’s climate credentials. Mine is officially ‘terrible’. So – I’m funding fossil fuels.

Having discovered this, I need to change my bank. Following the links on the website has made this simple. Having looked into alternatives on several sites, including https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalcampaigns/carbon-divestment, I’ve decided to switch my current account to Triodos Bank (www.triodos.co.uk)

I have to admit, whilst ethically this is an easy decision, I’m a little uneasy. I’ve been with the same bank for over 30 years and have never encountered a problem. Not only do I know my sort code and account number by heart, but I’ve also become a bit of a whizz with their online banking, so I face the prospect of a new system with some trepidation. They have my mortgage too. Will they start to be mean? Or perhaps I could move that at the next opportunity? So, yes: I fear several outcomes; but my fear of a future tied to fossil fuels is greater.

I think the day will soon come when I’ll be ashamed to admit that I bank with one of the biggest funders of the fossil fuel industry. So – instead –I look forward to flourishing my biodegradable Triodos bank card with pride.

I’m ready to go! How soon can I do this? 31st August 2020 is #switchitday, a date when our collective actions will be noticed. But – we don’t need to wait until then. The sooner we divest from fossil fuel industries, the better. I’m scheduling my ‘switch’ for the day I return from my summer holidays in mid-August, just in case something goes wrong…

Will you join me in firing YOUR fossil bank? Let’s join our small actions and individual voices into a collective shout. Let’s put our pennies into a piggy-bank for the planet and change the course of this huge, stubborn vessel of state. Together, we can do this.

How to power-up your action.

I’m under no illusion that the loss of my custom, with my teacher’s salary, will make the shareholders of a major world bank lose any sleep; I’ll lose more sleep than they do over my switch. That’s why it’s so important that hundreds of thousands of us do the same thing this summer, so they do sit up and take notice.

To make your decision more powerful:

  1. Write to the bank you’re leaving, explaining exactly why you no longer wish them to use your money to fund climate chaos.
  2. Register your pledge to divest at https://myecopledge.co.uk/finance-investments/ We’ll tally the pledges so that we can shout about how many of us are moving our accounts.
  3. Share your action on social media. @myecopledge #whatsyourpledge #fireyourfossilbank #buildbackbetter #greenrecovery #divest