Local seniors protest banking industry’s role in climate change

by Andrew Alonzo | aalonzo@claremont-courier.com

Upset about private banks’ funding of trillions to the fossil fuel, gas and coal industries, thousands of seniors across the nation marched in solidarity Tuesday to express their distaste during the “stop dirty banks” day of action, organized by Third Act and numerous national advocacy groups.

Hundreds of rallies took place around the United States, including in Claremont. Residents and retired educators Julie Starrett and Margaret Davis, organizers for Third Act SoCal, rallied support with about 18 local residents inside and outside Claremont Village banks including Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

Starrett said the aim of the protest was to inform bank customers about climate change, where some of their money goes, and to possibly reconsider where they put their money.

“We understand it’s not realistic for everyone to move their money now,” Starrett said. “But we want people to know and start thinking about doing something that’s helping solve the climate crisis.


(L-R) Claremont residents and retired educators Julie Starrett and Margaret Davis, event organizers for Third Act SoCal, marched from Wells Fargo to Bank of America through a shower on Tuesday to protest big banks’ funding of trillions to the fossil fuel industry. About 18 others joined them to raise awareness outside Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo in Claremont Village. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo


“Really the climate crisis needs everyone. It seems kind of silly. Sometimes you think, ‘Oh, do I really want to be carrying signs and singing songs?’ We’re beyond that. Everybody’s got to find their place. Everybody’s got to do their thing to raise awareness and make systemic change.”

Protests were held a day after United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for an end to fossil fuel financing, citing Monday’s AR6 synthesis report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The full report is forthcoming but a news release is available at ipcc.ch.


Protester signs outside of Wells Fargo Bank in Claremont on Tuesday. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo


According to a 2021 report by the Rainforest Action Network and the Sierra Club, 60 of the world’s biggest private banks, including Citigroup and Bank of America, financed at least $3.8 trillion in loans to the fossil fuel industry over the five years following the 2016 Paris Agreement.

“They are continuing to loan money when we don’t have the time,” Starrett said before Tuesday’s protest.

The UN’s recent climate report put emphasis on immediate human efforts to keep climate change at bay.

“Taking the right action now could result in the transformational change essential for a sustainable, equitable world,” Monday’s news release read. “More than a century of burning fossil fuels as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use has led to global warming of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. Every increment of warming results in rapidly escalating hazards.”

More info is at thirdact.org/our-work.


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