Switching your bank account is easier than you think, writes Watlington Climate Action Facebook Group founder Kate Brown
I've banked with HSBC my whole life; I opened a Griffin Savers account aged about eight, and I still have the pocket dictionary I got as a free gift. I recently switched to Nationwide, as a one-person protest against funding fossil fuels.
I've changed a lot about my family's home, travel and other choices in the last few years, getting our carbon footprint quietly down, but banking remained.
I had switched my savings account away from HSBC a few months ago and finally plucked up the courage - it seemed like a big deal - to switch my current account to a provider that doesn't fund the climate crisis.
And it turned out to not be a big deal.
The Current Account Switch Guarantee made moving nice and smooth. I've successfully wiped roughly another 2.5 tonnes a year off my carbon footprint and feel great that that money is no longer funding fossil fuels.
Some argue that fossil fuel companies could just go elsewhere for finance and that switching banks and investments will not make a difference. So, is this just be “feel good activism” and reduce the chance that people might do something that would actually make a difference, such as stop buying fossil fuels?
In fact, stopping buying oil and gas is highly impractical (in fact almost impossible) in the current economic paradigm. We are bound by economic systems almost all of which are inextricably tied to oil and gas (the production of renewable energy systems included).
But stopping financing oil and gas is a small, individual step that, if done by millions, would help catalyse a fundamental shift in the way money works. If enough people did it, big banks would have to change. Both using less fossil fuel and not funding fossil fuels are actions we as individuals can take.
You can find out more about your bank’s climate performance at www.bank.green