We are two aging environmentalists with more than 80 years between us spent advocating for a cleaner planet and healthier economy. Even from our well-worn perch, what will be taking place at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil this week has the makings of a potential game changer.
Last week, activists with the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) climbed 100ft to suspend a banner on Charlotte's Bank of America stadium, where President Obama is scheduled to make his nomination acceptance speech on 6 September. The banner read "Bank of America" with the word "America" crossed out and replaced with "Coal".
Some groups are calling for a moratorium on foreclosures and an increase in loan principal reduction as effects of the mortgage crisis continue. Others decry the bank’s financing of coal energy projects, and still others seek to end corporate political donations.
Organizers have pledged nonviolence. In fact, many of them have gone through workshops or other training on nonviolent protesting, said Amanda Starbuck of the Rainforest Action Network. But they don’t rule out street and sidewalk blockages that could spur police action.
"We see Bank of America as the worst of the worst," said Amanda Starbuck, a director at the environmental advocacy group Rainforest Action Network, which organized the protests. "There's a lot of momentum around Bank of America."
Demonstrators are expected to swarm Bank of America Corp's annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday to voice anger over a range of issues from foreclosures to corporate taxes to financing for the coal industry.
The banner that hung briefly from “Bank of Coal” stadium Wednesday was the first of upcoming protests that, four months before the Democratic National Convention, will test Charlotte’s ability to police waves of demonstrators.
Protesters will welcome Duke Energy shareholders at their annual meeting Thursday morning. Organizers say 1,000 activists will be on hand for Bank of America’s shareholder meeting next Wednesday. Another group vows to “occupy” a conservative legislative summit May 11.
Charlotte, NC––The swelling wave of dissatisfaction with Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), both among investors and everyday people, reached a peak today in Charlotte. The historic Bank vs. America protest brought the 99% face to face with the 1% both inside and outside of BOA’s annual shareholders’ meeting today. 99% Power members are available for interviews.
At the bank's annual meeting in May, Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan said a new environmental commitment was in the works. At the same meeting, Moynihan also faced criticism from environmental activists about the banks' underwriting of bonds for coal companies and utilities that burn coal.