February 27, 2013
Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) Blog
EQAT's Bank Like Appalachia Matters campaign aims to end PNC Bank's financing of mountaintop removal coal mining. PNC's investment strategy not only destroys mountains, communities, and people's health and well-being - it is a fundamentally risky business investment, as the cost of global warming begins to skyrocket and calculating for that becomes part and parcel of corporate balance sheets.
Just this month, a shareholder resolution backed by Domini Social Investments, Walden Asset Management and Boston Common Asset Management is demanding that PNC "consider the risk" of greenhouse gas emissions. This is a clear blow to PNC's greenwashed veneer: LEED-certified buildings are not enough to cover the damage of fossil-fueled profits.
Even the SEC denied PNC's attempt to have the resolution blocked - a significant turnaround from a decade ago.
What does all this mean for Earth Quaker Action Team? It means that we -- and by that I mean you -- have the opportunity to sharpen our language, our intent, and our direct action. By what we say and do, we must convince PNC that mountaintop removal is a poor business risk. EQAT's strategy invites you to do just this.
The Goal: Escalate Until PNC Responds
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On March 14, EQAT begins a 40-day fast in which we are asking people to fast for a day or more during the fast period. The fast is flexible and we'll leave it up to you to decide how you fast. We only ask that you make your sacrifice public.
Dick Taylor, EQAT member and experienced faith-based activist reminded us that "some demons can only be cast out by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21).
Mountaintop removal mining, and the financial investments that make it possible, is one of these demons. So we will fast. And we will let the PNC board know that we are fasting in the hope that they, too, will cast out the demon in their midst. We will invite board members to meet with us in an atmosphere of common struggle, to dialogue how PNC can go truly green.
What happens if PNC board members ignore us? What does a child do when a parent ignores her? Yell louder! Yes, EQAT is preparing to escalate so that PNC can no longer ignore our cries for the mountains and peoples of Appalachia. On April 23rd, EQAT will break the 40-day fast at the PNC shareholders meeting in Pittsburgh. And you're invited!
Those with shares in PNC can join an action INSIDE the meeting. Those without can join the action OUTSIDE the meeting. We will be demanding a meeting with the board of PNC to negotiate a sector exclusion from mountaintop removal mining as a first milestone for PNC's true greening.
Preparing ourselves for the likelihood that PNC will refuse our demand, EQAT is preparing a further stage of escalation: to show up at PNC board member's public appearances and Shine the Light on each board member's complicity with the policy of mountaintop removal.
We call this SHADOWING.
We want to bring to light the reality that evil is not done by monolithic entities (like a Bank), but by the individual choices of the people who make up that institution. It is the PNC board who have the power to overturn bank policy, and so it is to the board members we turn!
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Chris Baker Evens
Earth Quaker Action Team