More than fifty climate activists, some of whom were wearing signs or chanting, “Chase funds climate chaos,” demonstrated outside the Chase bank branch on Central Street in Evanston Friday morning.
The protesters called on JPMorgan Chase, the bank’s parent company, to stop funding fossil fuel development.
Evanston-based Jessy Bradish, who led the rally, told Evanston Now that JP Morgan Chase, the international banking and investment firm, had $ 317 billion in 2015 climate deals.
In a letter to Jamie Dimon, the company’s CEO, the protesters, some of whom have a Chase bank account, said, “As JPMorgan Chase customers, we are appalled by your continued funding for the climate crisis.”
The protesters were members of various environmental and climate organizations such as E-Town Sunrise and Chicago Area Peace Action. In her letter to Bank CEO Dimon it says: “Chase must immediately stop funding fossil fuel expansion projects to avoid a climate catastrophe,” events such as more heat waves, droughts and fires and storms.
On its website, JPMorgan Chase states that it is taking steps to align investment policy with the goals of the Paris Agreement with Intermediate Targets for 2030 and to establish a “path to net zero emissions by 2050”.
The company also says it “intends to allocate more than $ 2.5 trillion over the next 10 years to tackle climate change and contribute to sustainable development, including $ 1 trillion for green initiatives”.
However, the protesters said the bank was doing too little and too slowly.
The letter to Dimon states, “JPMorgan Chase’s practice of prioritizing shareholder profits at the expense of the health and safety of people and communities must stop,” and there are only eight years left to reverse climate change, or the results will be disastrous.
Protest leader Bradish said Chase Bank customers could “look elsewhere” to invest their money if JPMorgan Chase does not take more drastic action on climate change.
While this could have little effect on a multi-billion dollar company, protesters said they will be demonstrating at other Chase stores in the near future in hopes more people will join the effort to put pressure on the bank exercise.
One of the demonstrators is involved in the cause at a very young age. Seven-year-old Levi Wolf, who took part in the Central Street protest with his grandparents, said “fossil fuels are bad for the environment”.