The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ginny Cleaveland, Deputy Press Secretary, Fossil-Free Finance, Sierra Club,,

Sierra Club joins Third Act and 50+ organizations at national day of action to stop dirty banks

Event led by retired activists featured more than 100 events across the country

Sierra Club executive director Ben Jealous joined Third Act founder Bill McKibben, Greenpeace USA co-director Ebony Martin, and Rev. Lennox Yearwood, president and CEO of Hip Hop Caucus, today in Washington, DC, as part of a national day of action to stop dirty banks. The DC event, which was one of more than 100 events across the US billed as one of the biggest ever mass mobilizations being led by retired activists in their “third act” of life, featured a rally, a march, a 24-hour vigil outside DC bank branches and a “rocking chair rebellion” with elders alongside giant puppets, street murals, chanting protestors, and labor-style picket signs.

“The big banks feel beholden to an industry literally driving us toward human extinction. What we’re asking these banks to do is to have the moral clarity to say to their clients, ‘You cannot keep expanding into the Arctic, you cannot keep expanding into the Gulf, you cannot keep drilling in Africa and throughout the globe. Because what you’re doing is putting our communities, our future, and the climate at risk,’” said Ben Jealous, executive director of the Sierra Club.

Across the country from San Francisco to New York, thousands of older Americans angry at Chase, Citi, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo for funding the expansion of fossil fuel projects took part in more than 100 events during the day of action. The events involved rallies, music, art installations, and activists cutting credit cards in protest of the billions of dollars that banks provide to fossil fuels companies and projects.

In Washington, DC, the “rocking chair rebellion” was the highlight of the event. In New York, activists held giant scissors to cut up a cardboard credit card. There was a giant street mural in San Francisco, chainsaws in Juneau, AK, a paper mache orca in Seattle, WA, dancing in Portland, ME, and an event organized by the Hip Hop Caucus in Dallas, TX.

The day was organized by Third Act, a group for climate and democracy activists over 60 years old, co-founded by veteran campaigner Bill McKibben, and more than 50 partner groups, including the Sierra Club, Elder’s Climate Action, GreenFaith, People’s Action, The Hip Hop Caucus and local groups around the country.

“Today is a major drive to take the cash out of carbon. We want JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo and Bank of America to hear the voices of the older generation, which has the money and structural power to face down their empty, weasel words on climate. We will not go to our graves quietly knowing that the financial institutions in our own communities continue to fund the climate crisis,” said Third Act founder Bill McKibben. “We’re going to hit the streets and banks today in a wave of gray power. We will be colorful and noisy but our message is serious: we want the banks to move out of fossil fuels. The lives and livelihoods of our children and grandchildren depend on a drastic change and banks are the key to this.”

The national day of action follows the latest climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) yesterday which states there is a “rapidly closing window of opportunity” to address the growing crisis of rising global temperatures.

Big US banks are some of the biggest financiers of fossil fuel expansion in the world, and by continuing to finance that expansion, they undermine our ability to meet our climate goals, and contradict their own climate pledges. This spring, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo face a suite of climate and fossil fuel proposals at their annual general meetings. For more information about those shareholder proposals, go to

“By continuing to finance fossil fuel expansion, Wall Street banks undermine our ability to meet our climate goals, and contradict their own climate pledges. These demonstrations are only the beginning of what each of us can do to hold big banks accountable for their role in the climate crisis. This spring, we’ll also be engaging with the banks’ biggest shareholders in the lead up to their annual meetings to support key climate votes. It’s a critical moment to push the banks to stop the flow of money to new fossil fuel expansion, to stop greenwashing their emissions targets, and to end the burden of dirty energy on frontline communities,” said Ben Cushing, campaign director in the Sierra Club’s Fossil-Free Finance campaign.

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