Money talks

In a recent victory for collective action, the Army Corps of Engineers denied permits necessary for the Dakota Access Pipeline to run through sacred Native lands.

Exactly one day later, the Trump administration expressed its support for the completion of the project. For more information about what kinds of legal instruments the Trump administration could use to resume the construction of the pipeline, read this. If you want to skip the boring details it basically boils down to this: it’s quick, it’s easy, and if Trump decides he wants to do it, he will.


So what can we do to make sure this victory for indigenous land rights and the environment outlives Obama’s presidency? We maintain political pressure. Here’s how:

  1. You can sign this petition that is nearing its 500,000th signature!
  2. Or this one that’s slightly different. While the DAPL is being constructed by a corporation called Energy Transfer Partners, it’s being funded by a lot of banking institutions that you all probably have bank accounts with. This petition calls on those banking institutions to divest their money from the DAPL.
  3. Ever heard of the expression “money talks?” I know it’s way easier to sign a petition than it is to pull your money from a banking institution. I get it. But there are some great alternatives to banks (like credit unions!) and nothing will grab a bank’s attention like the sound of your money going elsewhere.
  4. With that being said, a great follow-up would be a letter with actual words. Write to the CEO of your bank and tell him or her exactly why you withdrew your money and what the bank can do to get it back. This is a GREAT resource if you want to take the next step. It includes the names and contact information of all the banking executives who run banks that are funding the DAPL and really great ideas about what to say. It includes all 17 banks that are directly funding it as well as the banks that have offered a credit line to its parent companies.

If you need any more proof that this could work, the largest bank in Noway already divested. People spoke, and DNB listened, selling their assets that amounted to 10% of the total funding for the pipeline.

recent report shows that the amount of money divested from fossil fuels has hit $5 trillion. Trillion with a ‘t.’ People all over the world are hitting corporations where it hurts; their bottom lines.

If you’re someone who is into using this kind of financial leverage to pressure companies and the government to act quickly on climate change, here is a great piece from the Huffington Post. Here’s my favorite part:

There are a lot of things that the president can’t undo. He can’t stop the fact that solar and wind are cheaper than coal and gas. He can’t change the fact that dozens of businesses have already committed to clean energy,” Brune said.

As of December, more than 640 institutions worldwide, including several universities, churches and for-profit companies and banks, have pledged to divest from their fossil fuel investments. According to Go Fossil Free, a campaign, the commitments amount to more than $3.4 trillion.”

Want to learn more? Check out this guide to personal divestment.

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