Your money makes a huge difference. Here's 4 things you can do with it to heal the planet.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Let's talk about 💸responsible money management 💸 . Ever wonder what happens to your paycheck once it hits the bank?When we found out that our hard-earned money was being used to fight climate change, we were shocked. Turns out, the biggest banks in the world are propping up — and expanding — the fossil fuel industry.
Here’s what we’ll cover step-by-step:
The ways in which banks use our money is scary, especially after learning the costs of their impacts on our priceless planet.
🎯 Action step 1 of 4: READ — Let's start by looking at a few articles together.
The financial industry is harming the climate and our planet. This 2019 New Yorker article by Bill McKibben, the environmentalist who started 350.org, breaks discuss how divesting from fossil fuels basically means pulling our money out of oil and gas.
Here's what you'll learn from the article, "Money is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns":
We can't wake up tomorrow and stop using fossil fuels entirely, but we CAN wake up and divest! The New Yorker article covers banking, asset management, and insurance in depth, and shows how handling our money responsibly could be the fastest path to a cleaner and safer world.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 1 of 4: READ.
🎯 Action step 2 of 4: LISTEN — we'll watch a short video or listen to a podcast to further expand on our topic.
It wasn't until years ago that we gave a second thought to what happened to our money after we put it in the bank. We're going to walk through a one-minute overview on what banks do with your money followed by a two-minute clip on the biggest banking bad boys. It's OUR money — our hard-earned cash — financing climate change.
Today, we'll get a refresher on how this works through two very short videos (~1 min each).
Here's what you'll learn:
Here's some fast facts:
You can learn more about your own bank in RAN's Banking on Climate Chaos report — it shows what nefarious lending banks from all over the world are up to. On a positive note, there's a lot we can do — closing our accounts with these banks and opening climate-friendly ones, rolling over our retirement funds into clean energy funds, and more.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 2 of 4: LISTEN.
🎯 Action step 3 of 4: ACT — Now it's time to do something. Let's go!
Sustainable finance is one of the more optimistic topics under the umbrella of climate change, in our opinion, because there's a clear path to action. So, without further ado, here's four things you can do:
1. Find out: how does your bank score?
Chase is THE WORST. Major major yikes. They've done $317B in fossil fuel financing since the Paris agreement (you know, the agreement that says 'we agree to stop F-ing up the Earth').
2. Sign Bank Green's pledge to not fund fossil fuels.
Public statements are powerful, so show your support in 15 seconds.
3. Find a values-aligned bank.
4. Make your retirement fund fight climate change.
Make an account with Carbon Collective — it doesn't make sense for your own retirement money to fuel climate destruction, does it? Imagine what your grandkids would say.
The first two actions are short and sweet, and the last two will only be an hour-ish project, and these will go a LONG way. Let's invest in the future we want to live in.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 3 of 4: ACT.
Before we go any further, it's time for you to pledge your commitment. It takes less than 30 seconds to pledge and we can bother you about it in a friendly way, so we can hold each other accountable. Pledge here!
🎯 Action step 4 of 4: REFLECT — what can you commit to? What fresh perspectives can we look at?
One fast fact—there's banking disparities in Chicago, USA. It's just one of MANY examples of financial institutions actively working to exclude people. Another example worth noting is how women worldwide are excluded from financial systems.
Sustainable finance isn't just about emitting less CO2. It's about building an equitable world. It's important to highlight that banks do a lotttt of shady stuff with our hard-earned cash. In most countries including the USA, you need the bank to do anything, like buy a house.
According to this Home Mortgage Lending Inequalities article on banking disparities:
Discrimination in lending is structural, whether we're talking about gender, race, or anything else. But we can fix our financial systems! All injustices are interrelated, and we all have a role to play.
Just know that you money and where you put it makes a huge different on our planet.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 4 of 4: REFLECT.
Check out our membership community for more resources like free weekly events with social justice experts, sustainable product discounts, pre-written email templates, a social impact job board, and in-person hangouts with new friends. Thanks for taking action with Soapbox Project!
Get our free bite-sized climate action plans before you go!