Street campaigning always results in enlightening conversations with the public, and a Wednesday lunchtime session outside Barclays on the Triangle was no different.
Barclays is the only UK bank that is involved in the funding of Canada’s tar sands pipelines. Tar sands produce some of the dirtiest and most polluting oil in the world. Indigenous communities are in the path of all 3 of these pipelines, and are fighting back to protect water, wildlife habitat and our shared climate.
Our Wednesday ask of the general public was to support the campaign by signing a fake cardboard credit card and deposit it in our pop-up cardboard ATM.
Many passers by engaged in the activity. One passer by said that his family live in Calgary at the northern end of Keystone XL (rejected by Obama, revived by Trump) and have been involved in local protests.
Another said that he was currently studying in Canada, and that the tar sands pipeline construction plans were incredibly divisive amongst Canadian citizens.
One gentleman considered our protest was poorly focused as Greenpeace should be targeting oil companies directly rather than the investing banks that have a duty to shareholders. We suggested that Barclays should also heed ethical considerations but our friend wouldn’t sign up, despite agreeing that tar sands extraction was folly.
One lady said she felt unable to sign as she had recently received an 18-month interest-free credit card with Barclays. She considered that oil profits might be facilitating her deal and didn’t want to feel a hypocrite! Again, this lady strongly agreed with the aims of our campaign.
Those with long memories mentioned Barclays involvement in funding an apartheid regime in South Africa and open cast coal mining in south America.
And, of course, there were a few long-term Greenpeace supporters who were happy to sign straight up, trusting that Greenpeace do strong groundwork and research to target their campaigns effectively.
At the end of our hour session, we peeked into the mock-up ATM and we had obtained 51 signatories. These will be delivered en masse to a local Barclays bank manager to let them know the strength of feeling locally.
Big thanks to Fi, Katrina and Carol.
Click here to add your name to the online petition asking Barclays to stop funding toxic oil pipelines: https://bit.ly/2u0iSEd