In late September, young people across the globe led a series of climate strikes, also known as the Global Week for Future. These actions represented the largest environmental protests that the world has ever seen.
At the strike in Raleigh, North Carolina, Self-Help Credit Union joined other local nonprofits that set up tables to share ideas about solutions and to learn from each other. I signed up to carpool, so found myself headed to Raleigh in the Self-Help hybrid company car with two college students and a Self-Help member.
As we traveled, I reflected on something I’d read: “Hope feeds action, which feeds hope, which feeds action.” It felt good to be joining others who were travelling to Raleigh to call for their elected officials to take effective climate action. Over 500 people gathered from all walks of life: school-aged kids, parents, pastors, professors and artists.
We heard from Bobby Jones (pictured speaking below) of the Down East Coal Ash Coalition. He read a few verses of scripture, then explained how waste from power plants harms low-income communities. The next speaker was William Barber, III of the Ecological Devastation Committee of the NC Poor People's Campaign. He gave me chills, echoing the famous phrase “the fierce urgency of now.” He called on the adults to join with the fresh talent of youth leaders who had convened the worldwide climate strikes.
The most powerful conversations I had that day were with people who wanted to translate their deep concerns into meaningful action. Many were already really thoughtful: they limit and re-use plastic bags, they have changed their light bulbs, they adjust their home thermostats, and they do meatless Mondays.
But hidden in plain sight is a really powerful action to make a difference: we can all choose where we keep our money. Lots of concerned people are still banking with institutions that finance fossil fuels. We can move our savings accounts and our everyday financial services to institutions that use our funds to invest in the kind of world we want to see rather than investments that erode the environmental systems we rely on. I was proud to talk about how Self-Help does that.
Whether concerned people choose Self-Help, a different credit union or a small bank, I was inspired to see so many passionate people get excited to take action and align their actions with their values. Hope feeds action, indeed.