The Seniors for Climate Action Now (SCAN) rallied on Princess St. in front of the RBC branch location on March 21. The rally was against fossil fuel investments.
Holding signs featuring hand-painted burning planets with slogans like “stop funding oil and gas” and “keep the oil in the soil,” students and Kingston residents protested the fossil fuel industry.
The rally started at noon with key speakers Kyla Tienhaara, Canada research chair in economy and environment at Queen’s, and Paul Gervan, SCAN member, calling for divesting from RBC.
Attendees chanted “no more coal, no more oil. Keep your carbon in the soil,” and “No exchanges, no refunds, climate change can’t be undone.”
The seniors of SCAN put pictures of their grandchildren on their posters, asking “why is there less snow? No outdoor rinks,” to argue against RBC’s investments.
“It’s wonderful to see people taking some of the burden off the youth. I think too many of us rely on the aid of youth to do action on climate change and it’s really great to see you guys [SCAN] stepping up,” Tienhaara said at the rally.
She claimed RBC is the largest bank in Canada contributing to the fossil fuel industry, investing $263 billion into the fossil fuel sector since 2016.
Tienhaara protested against the expansion of RBC’s investment in the fossil fuel industry and said it doesn’t make political or economic sense.
Demonstrators outside RBC with photos of grandchildren. Photo by Suzy Leinster
She continued to speak against the damage the Coastal Gaslink pipeline has done to the traditional Wet’suwet’en lands in British Columbia.
The pipeline has caused conflicts with RBC and the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs since April 2022. The chiefs claimed the project damaged rivers and wetland forests and limited their ability to hunt.
“The cracked gas pipeline violates our hereditary title and has led to years of RCMP violence, and harassment of peaceful Indigenous land defenders,” Tienhaara said.
On RBC’s webpage, the company provides an FAQ for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, calling for the federal government to establish it as a statutory holiday.
In a statement to The Journal, Tienhaara said “when it comes to climate action, RBC “talks a big game.”
Queen’s sustainability clubs and initiatives also came to support the movement in solidarity with SCAN.
“The long-term goals for this rally are to divest as much currency from big banks, such as RBC, which support oil and more conservative long term development projects. They take that money and invest it in credit unions,” Ryan Kuhar, ArtSci ’23, and Greenovations president, said in an interview with The Journal.
Queen’s Backing Action on the Climate Crisis (QBACC) and Greenovations came to support the movement, encouraging people to divest from the banks contributing to the fossil fuel industry.
“Young people cannot afford to invest in the destruction of the land we live on, and seniors do not want their grandchildren inheriting a wasted earth,” Siena Margorian, ConEd ’23, co-president of QBACC, said in a statement to The Journal.
“We all have a stake in this fight.”
Climate activism, climate crisis, Kingston, QBACC
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