The time is now to stand up against climate change. The time is now to stand up against JPMorgan Chase.
That’s why on May 15 in Plano, Texas, we decided to come together as a delegation, dozens deep, representing Indigenous and frontline communities from Canada to Ecuador and across the U.S. to hold JPMorgan Chase accountable for its devastating financial practices. Here’s what happened…
The occasion was the annual JPMorgan Chase shareholder meeting, and the delegation of activists represented the broad range of people suffering harm from the environmental, Indigenous rights and climate impacts connected to the bank’s financing of the most dangerous and polluting forms of fossil fuels.
When they keep pumping money into dirty fossil fuel companies and projects, it makes us all sick. Sick from the pollution, sick from the injustice, sick from an addiction that is killing us and our planet. We are done being a sacrifice zone.
Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation) of Honor the Earth spoke on how JPMorgan Chase’s dramatic increase of its backing of tar sands directly impacts the Indigenous cultural traditions of her community. “The heart of my people’s culture would be obliterated if and when Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline breaks in Minnesota’s vast watersheds and rich wild rice beds. Chase can play a major role in preventing this from happening by ending its credit relationships with Enbridge and all destructive fossil fuel actors.”
Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation), of Honor the Earth addresses the crowd outside the shareholder meeting.
These big banks just can’t seem to get it right — they say one thing but do another.
In 2017 alone, Chase bankrolled a whole suite of extreme fossil fuels — including tar sands, Arctic oil, coal, deepwater drilling, and liquefied natural gas –– to the tune of $11.6B.
“These big banks just can’t seem to get it right — they say one thing but do another,” said Cherri Foytlin of Louisiana Rise. “When they keep pumping money into dirty fossil fuel companies and projects, it makes us all sick. Sick from the pollution, sick from the injustice, sick from an addiction that is killing us and our planet. We are done being a sacrifice zone. We will stop Energy Transfer Partners, and its bad investments, such as the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. We are rising above your lies, your pollution, and your greed.”
First thing in the morning, arriving shareholders were greeted with a clear and unmistakable message, in two-story banner form:
Immediately afterward, speakers began addressing a growing rally out front of the meeting while delegates negotiated their way inside to address Chase CEO Jamie Dimon directly.
The shareholder meeting protest came just one week after a nationwide day of action saw hundreds of people engage in demonstrations at Chase branches in cities across the country, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Minneapolis. In downtown Seattle, 14 arrests were made after demonstrators staged a dramatic action that shut down the streets while others occupied Chase’s regional headquarters.
Chase can play a major role in preventing this from happening by ending its credit relationships with Enbridge and all destructive fossil fuel actors.
Inside the shareholder meeting, Manari Ushigua of the Sápara Nation in the Ecuadorian Amazon spoke powerfully to the threat of extinction his people faced due to the incursion of oil companies into their territory, and Joye Braun (Cheyenne River Sioux) of the Indigenous Environmental Network emotionally begged Dimon and Chase not to fund TransCanada and enable it to build the Keystone XL pipeline that threatens her family’s and community’s land and water.
“I’m fighting Chase bank because they fund Keystone XL pipeline and they’re the biggest US bank that funds tar sands,” said Ms Braun. “And should the Keystone XL pipeline break along the Cheyenne River, it will reach the water intake of my people on my reservation within 33 minutes. We can’t afford this. The time is now to stand up against climate change. The time is now to stand up against JPMorgan Chase.”
Joye Braun of Indigenous Environmental Network addresses Chase CEO Jamie Dimon inside the annual shareholder meeting (photo taken of a screen in an overflow room where many attendees of the annual meeting had to sit – JPMC booked a small room for the meeting to limit the number of activists who could talk)
RAN recently released a briefing paper that reveals that in spite of the urgent climate crisis and a public commitment to the Paris Agreement, JPMorgan Chase is doubling down on some of the most carbon-intensive, financially risky, and environmentally destructive fossil fuel sectors. According to the paper, which highlights data from Banking on Climate Change 2018, Chase is the biggest U.S. backslider, with extreme fossil fuel financing more than $4 billion higher in 2017 than 2016. For coal mining, the bank’s financing in 2017 was a startling 21 times higher than the previous year — this despite the bank’s policy to reduce its credit exposure to coal mining companies. And in the Amazon, a report from Amazon Watch shows that the bank invests heavily in companies with licenses to explore and/or drill in the Amazon rainforest on or near the territories of Indigenous nations that oppose oil extraction on their lands.
We must keep the oil in the ground, and help people learn how to heal Mother Earth. Our fight is not to slow the advancement of the rest of the world. Our fight is to defend life.
For Manari Ushigua of the Sápara Nation, who traveled from the Ecuadorian Amazon, Chase bank’s financial decisions could destroy the way of life for his community. “If Andes Petroleum, whose parent companies are financed by JP Morgan Chase, begins to drill for oil in our territory, it would lead to the destruction of our homes and our ancestral knowledge,” said Ushigua. “We must keep the oil in the ground, and help people learn how to heal Mother Earth. Our fight is not to slow the advancement of the rest of the world. Our fight is to defend life.”
Delegates attending the AGM included Joye Braun of Indigenous Environmental Network, Tara Houska of Honor the Earth, Cherri Foytlin of Louisiana Rise, Cedar George-Parker a T’sleil Waututh Youth from British Columbia, Bryan Parras of Sierra Club and Deyadira Arellano of the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS), Jessica Lorena Rangel of Eyes of a Dreamer, Paul Corbit Brown of the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, Yolonda Bluehorse and Frankie Orona of the Society of Native Nations, Manari Ushigua of the Sápara Nation in the Ecuadorian Amazon, Juan Mancias of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, Patrick McCully of Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Diana Best of Greenpeace USA and others.