Even the greenest of us sometimes put off certain decisions that are as powerful a way of showing our opinions as campaigning – consumer power.
It took me a while to break with the bank I was with from my student days and had never given me any problems in terms of service, but I knew that their ethics were appalling and I felt deeply uncomfortable with that. I no longer wanted my money to support a bank that invests in Vedanta Resources plc, Royal Dutch Shell plc, and notorious mining company Rio Tinto, so I made the move.
Switching was not nearly as hard as you might think and there’s a really great guide on http://www.moveyourmoney.org.uk/how-do-i-move-my-money for anyone who wants to move their bank account.
As well as current accounts, many of us also have some kind of savings for the future, be it ISAs, other investments or pensions. It’s very possible that once again this money is funding exactly the types of things we completely object to and would campaign against normally. Instead, these investments could and should be funding low carbon companies and infrastructure, not fuelling the carbon bubble that, as well as being damaging to the environment, is not a safe way of investing funds. When companies are holding assets that are fossil fuel reserves, that are ‘unburnable’ if we are to stay within planetary boundaries, then this means another crash is inevitable.
Currently, the values placed on fossil fuel companies are based on the future development of those reserves. When governments take action to limit carbon emissions, it will stop the burning of those reserves, and therefore the value of those companies will fall as their assets will be worthless. Surely there will not be a bailout of all the people clinging to a future based on fossil-fuelled planetary destruction!
Look at http://www.shareaction.org/ for more information on how to invest wisely for the planet’s, as well as your, future.