Sustainable Bathurst

Back in the 1980s, my mother refused to buy a certain brand of frozen fish.

MONEY MATTERS: A group called Market Forces has declared October 8 a national day of action in support of divestment.

MONEY MATTERS: A group called Market Forces has declared October 8 a national day of action in support of divestment.

The reason? The company was based in South Africa and South Africa was then ruled by an apartheid state. Mum was doing her bit by boycotting South African fish fingers.

As we know, the strategy worked. Not buying fish fingers all on its own would not have made much difference, but being part of an international boycott campaign did.

Around the world today there’s another campaign with some similarities to the anti-apartheid boycotts. 

The Divestment campaign, in which people withdraw their money from fossil fuel investment, is gaining ground. 

Here in Australia, a group called Market Forces has declared October 8 a national day of action in support of divestment.

The group’s website notes that since the Paris talks last December, Australia’s “Big Four” banks have continued to invest in fossil fuels.

Despite publicly declaring support for the two degree limit, the Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NAB and Westpac have loaned a combined $5.6 billion to fossil fuels around the world. 

Personally, my own little chunk of money is held in one of the Big Four banks. So what should I do, if I want to put my money where my mouth is?

Fortunately, the Market Forces website has easy-to-read bank comparison charts showing who does and who does not invest in fossil fuels.

Interestingly, the Maritime Mining and Power Credit Union here in Bathurst (formerly Reliance) is not a fossil fuel investor.

This is because it doesn’t actually invest in any industries, relying entirely on the savings of its own members. So that might be something to check out.

Other possibilities are Bank Australia, which has been carbon neutral since 2011, or the Bendigo Bank, which has a policy to actively reduce its carbon footprint. 

If you’re going to be at the Farmers’ Markets on Saturday, look out for veteran campaigner Isabel Higgins, who will be handing out more information on the Divestment campaign.

Or check the BCCAN website for links.

Tracy Sorensen is the secretary of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network. Visit www.bccan.org.au

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