Climate activists in Boston call on big banks divest from fossil fuel companies
Climate activists took to the streets of Boston’s financial district to demand banks stop investing in fossil fuel companies. The protest was one of more than 100 around the country organized by Third Act, a climate activism group largely made up of retirees.
Over 200 people joined the theatrical demonstrations and marched in Boston from a Chase Bank to a Bank of America branch. A man holding a solar-powered chainsaw cut giant Chase and Bank of America credit cards in half. Six demonstrators broke their own cards.
Mary McCabe, 61, from Arlington, made a poster with a baby picture of her son to represent the younger generations she’s striving to protect. She said it was the first time she’s taking part in a demonstration like this.
“We keep hearing reports in the news every day about how our window for preventing catastrophic damage keeps closing,” she said. "And that really this decade is critical for us to take action."
Third Act cofounder and Lexington native Bill McKibben created the group to take advantage of the life experience, skills and political power of retirees. And the activists pointed out their generation's economic influence: Baby boomers own over half of U.S. wealth.
“I feel it's incumbent on us to stand up for the next generations coming and do what we can as the people who are, kind of, of age and of some resources,” said Bob Follansbee, 73, adding he felt compelled to bike half an hour from his Dorchester home to downtown because he feels his generation is responsible for many of the climate challenges the planet faces today.
The Boston demonstration also featured a man dressed as a banker who said he only cared about money, and was jeered by the crowd. Other protestors carried a giant inflatable globe. And some marched playing band instruments.
Five members of the group Red Rebel Brigade, dressed in red and acted in a silent performance. They dress in red because it represents “the common blood we share with all species,” according to their website.
Third Act said fifty environmental organizations participated in Tuesday's demonstrations across the country. And it organized protests in seven other Massachusetts locations.
Diane Hayward, 65, her daughter Katie Hoskins, 33, and her granddaughter Norah Hoskins, 2, from Hopkinton, went together to the demonstration. It's already Norah's second protest for the climate.
“I just really feel it's very important for people to just keep making the banks know that we really are serious about climate change and they are complicit in feeding and funding the fossil fuel industry,” Diane said.
Judith Black, a 71-year-old storyteller, glued fake $100 bills over a dress. She held one side of a giant credit card and fell on the ground dramatically when it was cut.
“You can't be too dramatic compared to what is happening to our planet and what will be happening to our planet,” she said.
Chase Bank and Bank of America didn’t comment on demands they divest entirely from fossil fuels. Both said they support a transition to a low-carbon economy.