350 Tacoma: Divest from Destruction
In support of the indigenous-led campaign Masaska Talks (Money Talks), 350 Tacoma is calling upon individuals, organizations, foundations, religious institutions, non-profits and even the City of Tacoma to divest from destruction. In particular, this campaign asks people to stop using the banks that are funding the four pipelines meant to distribute oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada. James Hansen, the renowned climate scientist who raised the alarm on climate change decades ago, says that allowing the tar sands to be exploited is “game over” for life as we know it.
Which banks are funding the climate disaster?
Our allies at Masaska Talks (Money Talks) have compiled a list of 64 banks that invest in new tar sands pipelines and thus climate disaster. Seventeen of those banks are particularly egregious and have, or plan to, back all four proposed tar sands pipelines.
More locally speaking, some of the banks backing the Puget Sound Energy Liquefied (Un)Natural (Fracked) Gas facility are Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase.
Okay, my bank is listed. Where should I bank?
While you should make your own choice about where to bank, credit unions like BECU, Tapco or Sound Credit Union may be a great place for you to start. (Disclaimer: other than having an account at BECU, we have no financial ties or interests in these credit unions). These institutions are local, invest in community, and are member-owned. In addition they are usually cooperative, meaning that a BECU member can visit a Tapco ATM or teller and vice versa. As an added bonus, unlike many of the mega-banks, these credit unions are not known for predatory lending, discriminatory practices and blatant fraud.
For more credit union options, please look here.
Some other banks, that come recommended by the DefundDAPL campaign, include:
Native American Bank
Native American operated and provides loans to Native communities, online banking with ATMs for WA state residents.
Beneficial State Bank
The only WA branch is in Seattle but has supporting ATM networks.
Offers purely online banking.
“Community development financial institutions”
Institutions that focus on providing loans to low-income, under-served communities.
How do I divest?
Now that you’ve committed to divest from destruction, it just takes a little bit of patience and time to make the switch. Below is an outline of the steps recommended by Green America.
- Open your new account.
- Make a list of your existing automatic deposits and withdrawals.
- Move your automatic deposits to your new account (paychecks, social security, etc).
- Move your automatic withdrawals to your new account, leaving your old account active and funded in case you miss any.
- Get print or electronic statements from your old mega-bank for future reference.
- Transfer remaining funds from your old account to your new account.
- Close your old mega-bank account.
- Tell the mega-bank why you left them! (sample letter link)
*Please note that we are not financial experts or advisors, so do consult with your new bank for advice.
What about credit cards?
Changing your credit card is even easier than changing banks. Many people have mega-bank issued credit cards that are unassociated with their mega-bank accounts. If you’re switching to a credit union or a bank recommended above, simply apply for one there. Alternatively, you can click here to consult this list of cards compiled by Green America.
- If you have committed to switching banks, let us know about it! Email email@example.com and tell us where you currently bank and where and when you plan to transfer. [Once the switch is complete, send us a picture of you cutting your old bank card in half!]
- Let your friends and family know that you have divested and that it’s important for them to do so as well. You can also speak with any organizations or churches with which you are associated (let us know if you need a hand: firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Join the 350 Tacoma team. There are many opportunities to take all forms of action from outreach, to art builds, to demonstrations to non-violent civil disobedience. We need more people like you to avert climate catastrophe! Check out our campaigns page, email us at email@example.com, or simply come to our next public meeting.