- Day of Action: Oct 29th
- Core Message: Stopping this money pipeline is one of the most important ways we can address the climate emergency. To stop climate chaos, we need to stop funding fossil fuels. Now.
- Hashtag: #DefundClimateChaos (plus locally specific tags that work in different language and organising contexts)
- Images and content for your action / event can be found here.
- We’re building power to block the money pipeline and the dirty investments flowing to climate wrecking and ecologically destructive companies. The action guide is primarily designed to support actions and organising for Oct 29, 2021 but the contents can be used to help you build your organising anytime.
- This is a living page and is likely to be updated lots over the coming weeks.
IN THIS ACTION GUIDE
- Tactics and visuals
- Key messages and talking points
- Documenting your event / action
- Social media tips
- Covid safety
What we are demanding of the financial system
Banks, insurance companies and investors must immediately stop financing any new fossil fuels. That’s the very minimum needed now to limit the worst impacts of climate breakdown as highlighted in the latest IPCC report.
We welcome voluntary commitments from commercial banks and other financial institutions to stop funding all fossil fuels, but we acknowledge that the last 5 years of promises, and recent net zero commitments have only resulted in increasing flows of finance to fossil fuels and emissions are still on the rise. We’re organising to make sure that central banks, regulators and politicians act now to stop fossil fuel finance and bring money under democratic control.
Visuals And Tactics
Do you have a great idea for your action on Oct 29th already?!. Great! We’re excited to see the climate movement rising up to challenge the financial structures driving the climate crisis with all its creativity, diversity and power.
You might have banners and signs already from a previous event or action that can simply be put to use again. Or you might want to paint a new #DefundClimateChaos banner. You can find some designs here. And this handy video tutorial shows you exactly what to do.
If you’re not sure what to do and looking for inspiration we put this short guide together with a few different tactical ideas that you and your group to use as a foundation for your action or event.
- Teach-in / watch party (easy)
- Climate memorial (moderate)
- Street mural (advanced)
Teach-in / watch party
The financial system is a big thing to try and shift and knowing where to start can be daunting. Financial language can feel very complicated and this can make it a challenge to get actively involved. In fact financial institutions use confusing language as a way to keep ordinary people out.
At its simplest; banks and investors pour money into the fossil fuel project and companies that have led to the climate crisis. You don’t need to understand it all to have the right to change it. Shifting the financial system away from ecological destruction and climate breakdown is a moral question of justice.
That said, a basic understanding can go a long way and a teach-in is a great place to start. Educating yourself, your group and those you want to organise with, about the key aspects of the financial system and ways in which you can organise to change it, can be a good first step.
A teach-in is a lesson, lecture or discussion used as a form of social protest. The occupy movement used teach-ins as a way of collectively educating themselves about the economic system during the occupations around stock exchanges across the world in 2010.
It could take on the format of a big assembly in a public space, or be a small group of friends getting together to learn about the economics underpinning the climate crisis at school instead of attending regular class.
A friends living room
In the school foyer
Outside a local bank branch or in the town square
You could start by watching some short videos (or just listen to the audio) that introduce some of the key aspects of the topic.
Take your choice from these:
Fossil Finance 101
After watching some of this content together, discuss the below questions in your group. Be sure to note down any other questions that are raised in discussion and points of agreement that feel important to acknowledge.
- What financial institutions (Banks, Insurance companies, Pension Funds and Asset Management companies) do you have in our community?
- How are they contributing to the climate crisis?
- Who has the power to change that?
- How might we organise together on Oct 29th to put pressure on them?
Remember – Commemorate – Resist – Rise
The knowledge that banks and investors have and continue to pour vast amounts of money into the fossil fuel projects and companies driving the climate emergency alone is unlikely to change much. Lifting up the stories and highlighting the experiences of people and communities impacted by extreme weather events and resisting extractive projects, however, could play an important role in helping centre justice and the moral implications of distant financial decisions.
A memorial is an object or installation which serves as a focus for the memory or the commemoration of something, usually a person or a historical event.
A climate memorial then is intended as a way to remember the lives of people lost to extreme weather events and commemorate the people and communities resisting the new fossil fuel projects receiving continued support from financial institutions around the world.
To form the basis of your memorial we’ve worked with frontline communities to collate and create images and artwork for you to use. You can find a selection here.
Outside the financial institution that you’re targeting, using the window and/or footpath in front. Or if you really need to play it safe you can mount any printouts and visuals on cardboard and hold or place them outside your chosen location.
Visit the site where you want to create your memorial and get a sense for the space, make some rough measurements and take some photos. Try and imagine how to fill the space and what images and objects could work well to communicate your message.
This video will help you think through the different elements to consider when planning your event.
Whether it’s at a bank, or insurance company or at an Asset Management company like Blackrock there are a number of ways in which you might consider installing your memorial.
- You could stay and hold up the images with your group in front of the building. Attaching them to cardboard will make them easier to hold.
- Take the images and stories in to show to the manager and explain the reality of the impacts and your demands.
- For something more permanent wheat paste could be a good medium to use, for something more easily removed masking tape could be considered. Choose what level of escalation is right for you.
A few printing tips:
We’ve prepared a few print ready files ready to be printed online at home. You can find them here. But you can easily find images yourself online and use one of the below sites to create your own.
You can use these free online services to print out at home:
Or you can get large format print out made online via a web based service like this: https://www.wir-machen-druck.de/
There are many other aspects to a memorial that you might want to consider using in addition to the images provided here, you can find a more detailed guide to help you develop your idea here.
Street murals are an increasingly popular and exciting tactic, inspiring and mobilising people to collectively create a powerful message. Planning, training, preparing and painting together are great ways to build skills, strengthen groups and foster community.
A street mural is a collectively created artwork made in public space and can be used to communicate a variety of messages, demands and or stories. They are visually impactful, bold and eye-catching installations that can be used to occupy space or simply bring people together to co-create.
On the pavement in front of a bank or investment firm
In the local park or town square where lots of people might see
On a road as part of a bigger demonstration
There are no real limitations to where you could do your street mural. Think about who and how you want people to see it.
Join the workshops on Oct 7th and Oct 18th. To learn everything you’ll need in order to create your own street mural as part of the Oct 29th #DefundClimateChaos day of action.
If you’re not able to join the workshop we will post links to a recording of the video here. And you can refer to this guide. A better world is paintable. Pages 15-25 go into the details you need in order to create your own street mural.
Messaging and Talking Points
Important to remember, that the key to whatever action or event you organise is that it clearly communicates the key message that:
[your targets] continued financial support for fossil fuel expansion is responsible for the worsening climate crisis, and it’s up to us to put a stop to their dangerous climate wrecking activities.
You can find a document listing all of the planned events that we’re aware of here. Please reference some of these in any interviews you give to help reinforce the fact that this is a coordinated global effort.
Topline messages for speeches, media interviews, social media, etc
- The climate crisis is creating human tragedy. This year, once again, extreme weather events have destroyed lives and livelihoods across the world. Fossil fuel companies are to blame but there are other culprits responsible for climate destruction and they are hiding in the shadows: financial institutions bankrolling fossil fuels.
- Since the Paris agreement, the world’s 60 biggest banks have poured $3.8trillion into fossil fuels – they are pouring fuel on the fire as the world burns. This is fossil fuel finance and it has to be stopped.
- X of us are taking action in Y countries today, because if we cut the flow of money to fossil fuel corporations by targeting high street banks, investors, central banks and other financial backers both public and private, then we can stop new coal mines, oil wells and gas pipelines.
- We’re also grappling with the elaborate greenwashing efforts by Big Money. Finance firms are making bold and convincing statements on climate action with little substance, while muddying the waters so they can’t be held accountable. We need to call them out, and they need to put their money where their mouth is.
- These greenwashing efforts range from BlackRock promoting its green credentials while lobbying the EU to water down climate action, and banks and insurers still providing the capital and coverage for new oil and gas exploration all the while declaring their commitment to ‘net-zero by 2050’.
- But despite corporations’ billion-dollar efforts to lobby our politicians and mislead the public, people are waking up to the role of finance in the climate crisis. And they’re resisting industry attempts to blame consumers for their carbon footprints, which are dwarfed by the finance industry’s impact on the world.
- Over the last few years, a growing army of activists has been skilling up and fighting back against the culprits of fossil finance from every direction. Ordinary people have banded together in a global network of grassroots groups, standing up against the odds to oppose the big money and elite connections of the fossil fuel industry.
- We also need governments to step in and set rules that stop the finance industry from fuelling the climate crisis for a quick and dirty profits
- Together we demand an end to extractive capitalism and climate colonialism that exploits communities around the world to turn a profit at any cost. and to build a better world with transformative solutions that deliver social, economic and environmental justice.
Social Media Tips to Amplify Your Actions
There is no one magic keyword or phrase that leads to social media engagement. The success of your digital coverage depends on a lot of things: the size of your audience, the type of people who make up your audience and whether your content resonates with them, how often you post, etc. Think about who your audience is and what they do or don’t know about the target and climate finance, and what your goals are for hosting an action. Your online message about the action should be in line with these goals, and should be written in a way your audience will understand.
This superb video has some great tips for how to use video to amplify in-person actions online. And the following tips are well worth keeping in mind as you design your action.
- Use #DefundClimateChaos when posting about your actions online. This will help other activists find your work and boost its reach.
- Go in with a plan. Before the event, think about the story you want to tell online (if any) and what it will take to do it. Are you hoping to live tweet remarks from speakers? Post a few photos to show that the action is happening? Use the action as a moment to educate your audience on the importance of targeting finance in tackling the climate crisis. The answer will be unique to your group, but thinking about what you hope to achieve will help make sure your digital presence is cohesive and the day of the event is stress-free.
- Video and photos are great; think about both quality and quantity before posting. If you can get an experienced or even professional photographer to your event great, but you’re welcome and encouraged to take your own photos and video to post online day-of. Make sure photos and videos you post are as attention-grabbing as possible and demonstrate to a reader that a meaningful action is happening at the target you are giving focus to with the action.
✅ Complete picture ; no signs or activists attending are cut off from the frame ; photo can be at least somewhat understood with no caption
✅ Good lighting; subjects aren’t directly backlit or facing the sun directly
✅ Clear picture; allow your camera to focus.
❌ Dead space; open, unused space without activists or signs in any part of the photo
❌ Blurry or low resolution photos
❌ Photos that can’t be at all understood without a caption; most readers of online content will only ever glance at it, and photos that can make an impact even if someone doesn’t read the post are best
❌ Photos that are very similar to other photos of the event you’ve already posted
We encourage you to tell everyone coming to your action to wear a mask and stay home if they are sick. We feel that holding actions outside with masked participants reflects best known practices to greatly minimize COVID risks.
Consider designating a COVID safety point-person, who will make sure information about safety measures is communicated to participants before and during the action, and who has extra masks to hand out if people want to join the action who do not have a mask.