Next week, 92 of the world’s largest banks will meet in São Paolo, Brazil. Why does that matter?
Because they’ll be discussing climate and indigenous peoples’ rights to something called Free, Prior, and Informed Consent. Free, Prior, and Informed Consent is a concept defined by the United Nations and simply means that when it comes to any projects, programs, etc on indigenous peoples’ land, they should be consulted early on, without coercion, and with all of the relevant information.
This has been a subject of major controversy lately because of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This controversial pipeline project has been protested by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, along with many environmental organizations. The Standing Rock Sioux argue that they weren’t properly consulted on the pipeline’s route and that it will run through sacred sites and burial places, as well as threaten the tribe’s main source of drinking water.
So what does this have to do with banks?
The Dakota Access Pipeline is being financed by some of the country’s biggest banks, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase. This connection between banks and pipeline projects (including Keystone XL) has spurred a major divestment movement in cities, colleges, and personal bank accounts throughout the US. In February, Seattle voted to divest from Wells Fargoover its connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline, pulling out its $3 billion in annual cash flow from the bank.
In response to the international bank meeting in Brazil, Mazaska Talks, an organization sprung from the indigenous-led Seattle divestment campaign, is taking things to the next level from October 23rd to October 25th with its “Divest The Globe” campaign. They’re calling on indigenous people and allies everywhere to join them for 3 days of mass global action that make it clear to the banks – “financing climate disaster and the abuse of Indigenous Peoples will result in a massive global divestment movement.”
In Austin, the local environmental organization 350 Austin will be leading the local charge on the “Divest the Globe” campaign. On Monday, October 23rdfrom 11:30am to 1pm they’ll be holding a demonstration in front of a local bank, while simultaneously sending people into the bank with personal divestment letters. You can learn more here>>