The National Australia Bank (NAB) saw people taking to the streets in Lismore yesterday to highlight the fact that they have ‘lent seven billion dollars to fossil fuel companies over the last five years’ according to Extinction Rebellion.
Extinction Rebellion Lismore and their supporters protested at the NAB Woodlark Street branch to highlight the importance of ‘everyday people standing up for the planet’, said one organiser Daisy Nutty.
Miriam Torzillo who also worked on the campaign told The Echo that ‘The objective of the action was to highlight the massive investments of the National Bank in fossil fuels, in particular the support of gas projects in the Beetaloo Basin, the Narrabri Santos project and the Burrup Gas Hub, the latter will be the most polluting fossil fuel project ever in Australia.
‘The “Don’t Nab our Future” project has brought together concerned citizens, academics, business people and environmentalists from around the country to put pressure on the National Bank to commit to divestment from all polluting fossil fuel projects in their new investment policy to be released in November,’ she said.
Wearing high-vis vests the activists, as the Fossil Fuel Divestment Crew, wielded brooms to clean up (fake) coal.
‘As citizen activists, including allied health workers, environmentalists, grandparents and registered nurses, we realise that even non-violent direct actions like these sometimes give rise to strong feelings in passers by or in this case bank customers. However, we took care not to interfere with anyone’s right to walk the pavement, enter the bank or use the ATM. Our target is the management of NAB, they are the ones who need to take action. Taking action might not be nice, but the situation of the planet demands it.’
All together now
Pushing action on climate change also saw hundreds of hand-written letters being sent to Scott Morrison’s office in Canberra today by the multi-faith group called Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC).
They are calling on the Morrison Government to submit higher emissions reduction targets to negotiations in Glasgow, re-start contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund and abandon a ‘gas-led recovery’ in favour of job creation in low carbon industries.
Letter-writer and Co-President of the Muslim Collective, Fahimah Badrulhisham, said, ‘The world needs to act urgently and swiftly at COP26 but fairness suggests that Australia, one of the world’s biggest coal producers, should do much more to pull our weight. We have both the economic capacity and moral responsibility to drive down our emissions. Therefore, Australia must re-start contributions to the Green Climate Fund to assist our neighbouring countries to adapt to the climate impacts that they are already experiencing. They have emitted far less greenhouse gases than us, but they are the first to bear the brunt of this crisis. This is a question of basic justice.’
Spokesperson and Pentecostal Pastor at Bayside Church in Melbourne, Pastor Rob Buckingham, said ‘Our faith teaches us that we should care for God’s creation. I appeal to the Prime Minister as a man of faith and ask him to carefully consider his government’s responsibility to ensure the earth’s environment is protected for the generations to come.’
‘The earth’s climate is no longer changing incrementally but it is changing at an accelerating pace,’ Ps Buckingham said. ‘The intensity of climate-fuelled disasters is increasing world-wide, causing extreme human suffering. We Christians cannot walk on the other side, worried about the cost of taking action. The costs of not taking action are being paid by the world’s poor and younger generations.’
Another letter-writer, Rev. Meredith Williams, Minister of Wentworthville Uniting Church, said, ‘People in Western Sydney are very vulnerable to heatwaves, especially those living in poverty. More generally, Australians are very vulnerable to droughts, fires and floods and climate change will make these much worse for our children and grandchildren. Our governments are failing in their primary duty to keep people safe.’
ARRCC is coordinating the participation of hundreds of Australian faith communities in a global ‘Faiths 4 Climate Justice Day of Action’ on 17th and 18th October, two weeks before the Glasgow Summit. They will be calling on the Morrison Government to take much stronger climate policies to the negotiations.