Even without our knowledge, our money can help finance extractive industry projects that damage communities, like the one we saw this past Thursday with Bulgari and Myanmar gemstones.
Financial institutions like banks invest your money – through the checking accounts, savings accounts, and credit cards you open with them – often in fossil fuel and other extractive projects that do not meet rigorous environmental standards, and which forcibly remove communities from their homes. For example, Bank of America finances the pipeline project that threatens to displace the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose story we heard on Thursday, March 1st.
Here is a list of banks that finance that project, and other extractive projects.
If your bank is on this list, consider switching to a credit union or a community development bank. These banks invest your money in local and community-minded projects, often helping low-income or disadvantaged communities.
It's important to remember that our faith isn’t intrinsically against money or business. What it's deeply against is when we make money or business so important that we neglect our relationship with God and the wellbeing of our sisters and brothers and the Earth. Our relationships are our most valuable possessions. As scripture tells us, God rebukes those who would “hand over the just for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals; [those who] trample the head of the destitute into the dust of the earth, and force the lowly out of the way” (Amos 2: 6-7).