What is Bank of America doing for Earth Day?

By Matt Ran

I spent this past weekend in Charlotte, NC – the headquarters of Bank of America. Their annual shareholder meeting is this Wednesday, and I’ve also been attending a number of Earth Day events around town – helping answer the question: What IS Bank of America doing for Earth Day?

More than a few people came to our table somehow thinking we were actually from Bank of America – before seeing giant posters of mountain-top removal and coal-fired power plants. Sadly – this is the reality of what BoA is using their customer’s money for. I even talked to a lot of employee’s from the bank (it is Charlotte, after all) and many were quite supportive of getting the bank to do the right now.

I’ll give credit where credit is due. Sure, they are donating a few bucks here and there for some mostly-good purposes. They have incentives for their employees to buy hybrid cars. They are building a LEED-certified skyscraper in New York (Though I wouldn’t exactly agree that any skyscraper could ever be considered sustainable in the slightest!). And they spend millions on slick marketing campaigns, public relations firms, and well-crafted speeches to convince the world that they are doing the right thing for our communities, our climate, and our future.

But to quote my friend and dedicated Charlotte activist Beth Henry: “Bank of America is watering the flowerpot while they help burn the whole house down.” What’s more important – the skyscraper, or where the billions of dollars inside that skyscraper go? Earlier this month Bank of America signed the “Carbon Principles” – implying that they might actually stop lending money to dirty coal. But also last month, they helped finance $3.2 billion to Duke Energy – helping them build two new coal plants at Cliffside, NC and in Indiana. The truth is they DO invest in clean energy. It’s just that they invest nearly 100 times more money in dirty energy like coal.

So, I’m out here not just for Earth Day, but for Bank of America’s annual shareholder meeting. It’s this Wed (April 23rd), and people from all over the region are coming here to set the bank straight. Joining those of us from Rainforest Action Network will be retired coal-miners from Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, local Charlotte community members, members of Rising Tide Asheville, students from the Carolina’s, Georgia and South Carolina, to a van-load of people from Appalachian Voices. Even the labor union SEIU will be here – holding the bank accountable for pillaging the pockets of working-class people across the country.

Here’s the Action Alert below – if you are in the region and want to join us – be in touch!

Are you concerned about climate change? Clean air? A clean energy future?

Bank of America is having its annual shareholders meeting in Charlotte, NC, on Wednesday, April 23. Join us to demand that the company stop financing mountaintop removal mining, new coal-fired power plants, and climate change!

Come to Charlotte, bring your friends, and be ready to make a ruckus! We’d especially love to have musicians, street theater, self-organized actions, colorful banners and signs. The meeting and protest will be in central downtown Charlotte at a theater adjoining Bank of America’s headquarters. Some housing will be available for out-of-town folks in Charlotte on the 22nd and 23rd. Contact me (Matt) at matt@ran.org or Abigail at abigail@risingtidenorthamerica.org for housing or to get involved!

What: Protest Bank of America’s shareholder meeting!
When: Wednesday, April 23 at 9:30 a.m.
Where: Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, located at 130 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC

While the world is calling for immediate action to confront climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and end our reliance on dirty coal energy, Bank of America is continuing to use your money to invest in the most destructive and polluting industries.

Join me in Charlotte, and we can help stop Bank of America and push for a clean energy future that prioritizes energy efficiency and clean renewable sources like solar and wind power!