We’ve started a new project mobilizing grassroots climate activism in Ontario that will run in parallel with our BankSwitch campaign. The campaign aims to engage and support volunteers in actions and activities that draw attention to the Big 5 Canadian Banks atrocious record on fossil fuel funding. It’s going to be a long, hot summer for BMO, CIBC, RBC, TD and SCOTIA.

So far, we’ve reached out to dozens of active grassroots climate activism groups in the GTA and held a brainstorming and action planning meeting on zoom. There are a lot of great projects already underway, but most of them will need additional volunteers, so please reach out to us on social media or by email if you want to get involved.

Colorful squares with brainstorming ideas like "projection" and "white elephant tour".

Below are some of the action ideas that are already in the planning stages. All these actions will need more volunteers either for planning or to show up and execute – so please get in touch!

A national action (with a Toronto-specific action) where we will “greenwash” the banks (i.e. dress in green and wash the banks to show they are not being truthful about their commitment to climate action) 

Put up posters about the banks’ role in financing climate chaos. This is an easy activity you can do alone or in a small group. Posters available here

Bike Caravan
Cyclists bike through the financial district sharing a message about the banks’ fossil fuel funding. 

Street Theatre
Creative performance ideas/actions to draw attention to the climate finance issue with help from ARCA.
Timeframe: August

Banner Making + Drops

White Elephant Tour
Use a giant inflatable white elephant and banners, and take it around the city to different bank branches 
Timeframe: Elephant Dependent

Storefront Rental
Rent a storefront (potentially next to a bank branch) with information about how the banks/that bank is contributing to climate change 

Street Murals
Climate-related murals, specifically focused on financing climate change in partnership with school for climate

Bad Reviews
Google reviews on each bank branch of the major banks, giving them one star for their financing of climate change – will probably do a zoom review party to make it fun.

Fax Scotia
Jam up the Scotiabank fax with letters about their role in climate change. 

Local media campaign (could connect with other actions)
Letters to the editor and other outreach to small local news papers in Toronto and Ontario.

Switching bank info pack and distribution
Information for people about how to switch to a different bank and how to communicate with your bank why you are switching. 

Bank employees are frontline service workers and we’re mad at bank policies, not them! The adopt-a-branch plan aims to build positive relationships and inform them about bank policies they may not know about. We’ll call banks. Send them cards. Maybe deliver cupcakes once/if covid numbers decline more. The goal here is to keep track of which branches we’ve contacted, and give them a contact point to reach out to us and encourage them to be champions from within the bank. 

We already have dozens of people involved in this project, but the banks are huge, so we’re going to need hundreds. Please get in touch (contact@climatepledgecollective.org) if any of these projects interest you or if you have other ideas on how to draw attention the big banks’ fossil fuel funding.

The work of planning and supporting these actions is being generously funded by the Salal Foundation. We have received a flat contract to provide logistical support to other activists over the summer. The money will primarily be used to pay Myrtle and I for our time — although we’re so excited for this we expect to put in a lot more time than we’re being paid for.

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