Thursday, April 08, 2010

Your Bank & the Environment

Ruining Lives, Wrecking the Earth, Increasing Climate Change:
Is Your Bank Part of the Problem?

Here's some information you might be able to use:
I just learned that both my own bank, and a second large bank whose stock is in my IRA, invest in dirty energy projects including developing Canadian tar sands for oil and removing Appalachian mountain tops for coal. Unacceptable: I oppose these projects and support organizations that fight them. I do not want my money destroying mountains and wilderness.

How do you learn what your money's been doing while you weren't looking? Visit BankTrack, a website on which you can learn how various major banks use their customers' and investors' money: go to "banks," select the bank you want to know about, then look at "practice." BankTrack is a network of organizations and individual who track the operations of the financial sector and its effect on people and the planet. Their vision of helping "contribute to a private financial sector accountable to society at large, whose operations contribute to creating healthy and just societies and preserve the ecological well being of the planet" led them to study and report on bank activity.

If you're unhappy with the company your money's been keeping, you do have options. Vote your dollars another way -- e.g., by becoming an activist investor or bank customer, or selling your investment or changing banks. Notice that the banks listed on BankTrack are major world banks? A credit union or a smaller local bank might be a better bet for keeping your money from harming the environment.

For more information see Rainforest Action Network, Peacework, Banksecrets, and Fair Finance Watch.

Photo courtesy of the Sierra Club

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