This week, Tar Sands Blockade calls for all of us to take direct action against TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
“Direct action” means any activity that directly interferes with the unjust or harmful practices you oppose (or directly assists a beneficial alternative). Direct action is often misunderstood to mean only splashy or illegal actions. In fact, many dramatic actions are symbolic rather than direct, and many perfectly legal (and quite quiet) actions can have a direct effect. Economic actions, which can be as simple as not spending your money, can be particularly potent.
That’s why, in addition to endorsing the Week of Action, VINE Sanctuary encourages its supporters in Vermont and elsewhere to take direct action against the Keystone XL pipeline by withdrawing their money from one of TransCanada’s largest investors, TD Bank. Banks make their money by investing yours. If you bank with TD Bank, you are unwittingly bankrolling a project that will devastate local habitats while exponentially exacerbating global climate change.
In contrast to for-profit big banks, local credit unions don’t siphon money from communities to pay big dividends to wealthy investors and fat bonuses to rich executives. The only share-holders are the members. The money stays in the community. So, moving your money from a big bank like TD to a local credit union is a healthy for you and your community anyway. (You can find a credit union here.)
Here in Vermont, we know that pipelines always leak, and we know that especially corrosive tar sands oil will be more likely to leak and to cause worse damage when it does. That’s why several towns in Vermont have recently voted against allowing an already-existing pipeline here to be used for tar sands oil.
We don’t want anybody else to be poisoned either! So, let’s go further and tell TD Bank we don’t want them doing business in Vermont unless they divest from TransCanada. You don’t have to bank at TD Bank to participate in this week of direct action. All you have to do is make a phone call to the nearest branch of TD Bank, ask to talk to the manager, and tell them exactly why you don’t want them in your neighborhood unless they divest from TransCanada. (You can use this handy map to find TD Bank branches and other TransCanada investors across the United States.)
Here at VINE, we are deeply grateful to the Blockaders who are right now risking their lives and freedom to physically block the pipeline. The least we all can do to show our solidarity is make sure we aren’t helping to bankroll the pipeline. I’m sure that, if cows understood the mechanics of capitalism, they would join me in urging you to mooooove your money today!