Why hundreds of activists marched on Bank of America during Climate Week

By Rainforest Action Network

Every dollar spent on fossil fuels pushes our climate further into chaos and violates human rights by supporting the extraction, pollution, and destruction of lives and communities. Bank of America has poured over $279 BILLION into the world’s worst fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement, and is one of the worst financiers of fossil infrastructure expansion in this time of crisis, making the bank complicit in this carnage.

That’s why hundreds of activists took to the streets of New York during Climate Week as part of the Wave to End Fossil Fuels and marched on Bank of America tower!

See the powerful action for yourself below:

Police arrested 20+ activists and Indigenous leaders

After marching together through Midtown Manhattan, we were greeted by dozens of police with barricades already set up outside Bank of America tower, blocking four out of five main entrances to the building. Clearly, they’d seen our flyers and were ready for us, but we were ready for them too! Dozens of brave individuals blockaded the remaining entrance of the tower, holding our “Defund Climate Chaos, Defend Human Rights” banner, chanting and holding their ground and power. The arrests that followed reflected one of the injustices of our time, where people are criminalized for speaking truth to power, while climate criminals are rewarded with wealth and privilege.

Photo by Erik McGregor

From Appalachia to the Philippines, frontline community leaders shared the impact of Bank of America’s dirty financing with the crowd

After the arrests, leaders from communities that Bank of America is complicit in harming spoke to the crowd, calling out the billions this bank continues to hand over to oil and gas projects and the companies behind them, including:

Photo by Erik McGregor

Bank of America is bankrolling the biggest fossil fuel build-out of our lifetimes: methane gas expansion

Methane (LNG) is a greenhouse gas touted by the fossil fuel industry as a “bridge” fuel to cleaner energy systems. But methane has 80 times more climate-warming potential than carbon dioxide over 20 years. Building these facilities takes years and billions of dollars, and each one locks us into decades more reliance on fossil fuels. Methane is also extremely volatile: a methane pipeline explodes every two days on average in the United States. Lastly, methane is toxic: People who live near LNG facilities deal with symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and respiratory irritation – with long-term exposure connected to severe health impacts like asthma, heart disease, and cancers.

Methane gas is the fastest-growing fossil fuel sector in the world. Right now, there are 25+ planned LNG export facilities for the US Gulf Coast alone, where people have already been dealing with the severe health and climate impacts of the petrochemical industry for decades. The Gulf is not a sacrifice zone; by supporting this build-out, Bank of America is financing environmental racism.

Photo by Erik McGregor

The Climate Crisis is a Human Rights Crisis

Fossil fuel infrastructure has deadly effects on local communities, and disproportionately so on communities of color, while extraction and pipeline projects often displace or harm lives and livelihoods around the world. What’s more, in this time of climate chaos, the financing of fossil fuel expansion is itself a mark of complicity in human rights violations. As one of the largest bankers of fossil fuels in the world — spending over $87 Billion on EXPANSION alone — Bank of America is just as guilty as the fossil fuel companies for the climate crisis, increasing climate disasters like hurricanes, fires, and floods, and the poisoning, violence, and displacement of communities that these projects operate in.

Photo by Erik McGregor

Bank of America has moved before — they’ll move again

We do what we do for a reason: because it works. We’ve seen it before, and we’ve seen it with Bank of America.

Bank of America was the first to restrict financing for mountaintop removal and has adopted some limited policies against coal. In this pivotal time for people and planet, we won’t stop the pressure until Bank of America ends all fossil fuel financing once and for all.

Take action and sign the petition demanding Bank of America to listen to communities and stop financing methane gas now.