RAN activists (and polar bear!) take on Bank of America at Greenfest Chicago

posted by Josh Ran

RAN took on Bank of America at the Chicago Greenfest this weekend, with the help of some Chicago area activists, and a polar bear.

Perversely inspired by the Bank of America ATMs that seem to be all over Navy Pier in Chicago, and irritated that the only way to get cash involved giving BofA two dollars to use to fund coal funded power plants, we decided to bring a way to spread the message at Greenfest: creative non-violent direct action.

After a RAN-led non-violent direct action training, RAN activists—both ones who had been involved with RAN for years and who some who had discovered us at the Greenfest—decided to take on the global warming crime scenes that dotted Navy Pier. We were joined by a polar bear who was clearly concerned that the Bank of America was funding the coal that was leading to climate change and the destruction of his homeland.

Wear “Coal Kills” signs, the RAN activists paraded through the Greenfest and handed out leaflets to tourists and Greenfest participants. The polar bear, who was also wearing a “Coal Kills” sign on his belly, paused for some pictures with tourists.

The parade stopped at three ATM locations in Navy Pier, each which were promptly identified as global warming crime scenes. Activists put up signs telling the public that the ATMs were temporarily closed until Bank of America divests from dirty coal, and surrounded the area in yellow global warming crime scene tape. The polar bear did his part, putting up “Coal Kills” signs on the ATMS.

Of course, polar bears attract attention, including the attention of some of the Navy Pier authorities. After a brief escort back to the Greenfest, and a telling off, we were free to go. And the word that Bank of America funds coal and kills polar bears was heard loud and clear.