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Climate activists rally against RBC in Kingston, Ont.

Ryan Peddigrew
Climate activists rally against RBC in Kingston, Ont.

Climate and indigenous rights activists from various groups gathered Saturday in Kingston to protest a major bank funding fossil fuels.

It’s the second time in just 12 days that the sidewalk in front of the Royal Bank of Canada branch in downtown Kingston has been taken over by climate and indigenous rights activists who said they’re fed up with the bank’s investments in fossil fuels, including the Coastal Gaslink pipeline being built on Wet’suwet’en land in northern B.C.

“The Royal Bank of Canada is the biggest bank in Canada, and is also the biggest funder, underwriter, of fossil fuel investments in Canada,” said Jamie Swift, a member of the Seniors Climate Action Network, or SCAN.

Members of SCAN as well as members of the youthful group, Queen’s Backing Action on the Climate Crisis, partnered for the cause, which Siena Margorian said weighs heavily on their future.

“The people in power now who are older than us are taking actions that are going to affect us, our livelihoods, the lives of our children and our grandchildren, but they won’t be around to see the consequences of it,” said Margorian, who is co-president of the Queen’s group.

The group marched up and down on the sidewalk in front of the bank, chanting for the funding of fossil fuels to end.

Similar demonstrations took place in a number of cities across the country Saturday including all the way in B.C.

A senior, Swift said he has his granddaughter in mind as he marches.

“When Nora reaches my age, 71, this century will be coming to a close and and all the frightening signs are that our world may well not even be inhabitable,” he said.

Many members of both groups, including Swift and Margorian, said they’ve divested money they had invested in RBC and closed their bank accounts with the institution to send a signal, and they hope that others will follow suit.

“It’s kind of an action that, for the rest of my life, I’m no longer banking with RBC and that younger people are making actions that they’re not investing their money in companies like this, based on their actions,” she added.

“The goal for today is to keep up the spirit and build momentum for divestment from RBC and other banks that back climate breakdown,” said Swift.

In a statement to Global News, RBC said that they are taking deliberate action against climate change, including a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.