Last week, people around the world called on banks financing harmful fossil fuel projects to clean up their acts. Projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline and tar sands pipelines threaten a healthy environment and do not have consent from Indigenous communities whose territories they cross. Responsible banks should not be supporting them.
— Mike Hudema (@MikeHudema) October 27, 2017
Tar sands pipelines from Canada are slated to snake across North America, carrying dirty, tar-like, unrefined tar sands oil across numerous waterways to the coasts, putting at risk the communities and ecosystems in their paths. These pipelines threaten clean water and wildlife and are fundamentally incompatible with the action we so desperately need in order to avoid climate change-related disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, floods and drought.
Together, we have the power to stop pipelines — and we can do that by following the money. That’s why on October 23-25 people all around the world, from New York to Geneva to Melbourne, took part in the Indigenous-led Mazaska Talks Global Days of Action against major banks bankrolling these destructive projects. Their mission: to #DivestTheGlobe.
Mazaska Talks is a coalition of Indigenous groups and Nations that led these Global Days of Action. The word “mazaska” means “money” in Lakota, an Indigenous language spoken by the Standing Rock Sioux, who are resisting the Dakota Access pipeline. The actions were carried out by Indigenous Land and Water Protectors, grassroots activists, and NGOs such as Greenpeace and 350.org.
Just search #DivestTheGlobe on Twitter for a taste of what went down. More than 50 actions took place around the world in more than 60 cities in at least six countries. Many more people supported the Global Days of Action online.
In Seattle, there were reports of over 100 bank branches being disrupted for financing tar sands projects. Greenpeace US participated in coalition actions in four US cities calling on Chase Bank to stop financing tar sands pipelines, while Greenpeace Canada and its supporters participated in actions in six different cities to demand that banks such as Toronto-Dominion and Desjardins (North America’s largest association of credit unions) do the same.
Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline from central Canada to the Pacific Ocean is a huge threat to people and planet (even threatening endangered orca whales with extinction), and construction could begin any day now. TransCanada’s Keystone KXL and Enbridge’s Line 3 pipelines are still undergoing regulatory review in the US, but would pose similar threats if built.
And it’s not just American and Canadian banks that are lending money to pipeline companies. Banks from many other countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Norway, China, and Japan, are all lending money, directly or indirectly, to new tar sands pipelines that seek to blow our planet’s carbon budget.This is why Mazaska Talks actions extended outside North America. One of these was a protest was held against Credit Suisse in Switzerland with Kanahus Manuel, an Indigenous Secwepemc woman fighting against the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline.
Since the Secwepemc Nation does not consent to the pipeline, the company’s efforts to build it are a violation of the Nation’s rights under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Secwepemc territory is their home. To represent that and to prevent the construction of the pipeline, a grassroots group recently began the construction of 10 tiny houses in the pipeline’ path through their territory.
The days of action may be over, but the fight to stop banks from financing dangerous tar sands pipelines is not. Banks care a lot about what their customers think, so make your “money talk.” Sign the petition to stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities resisting harmful tar sands pipelines.
— Greenpeace Canada (@GreenpeaceCA) October 24, 2017
Alex Speers-Roesch is an Arctic & Oil Campaigner for Greenpeace Canada