Protest against Barclays: “There is no economy on a dead planet”

Extinction Rebellion has launched a series of protests against Barclays for financing fossil fuel projects. Are our banking choices hurting the planet?

white placard saying "dirty money"
Extinction Rebellion has been protesting against Barclays’ fossil fuel financing all over UK

Sophie Anderson is at the Barclays bank again. But unlike a few months back when she regularly went inside to conduct her transactions, she will stand outside for hours, braving the cold winds, to make her point. This is not her bank anymore and Sarah says she has a good reason.

“I was an account holder here but I have moved my account to another bank. I don’t want my money funding the destruction of my future,” said Sophie, a student who was protesting with Extinction Rebellion, which is a global pro-environment movement.

Protestors from the organisation gathered outside Barclay’s last Friday to protest against Barclay’s financing of fossil fuel projects.

Four protestors holding different placards
“I call now for Barclays to divest from fossil fuels,” said Sophie Anderson (right)

“I was disgusted to find out how much money Barclay’s was investing in fossil fuels. Between 2016 and 2019, they have invested 118 billion pounds into fossil fuels.”

In 2021, climate finance campaigners, Market Forces found out that Barclays has financed more fossil fuels projects than any of the UK’s leading banks. From January 2021 up to the UN climate summit in October, the bank had financed £4.1 billion for new fossil fuel projects despite growing national and international concern that such projects would sabotage the chance of avoiding a catastrophic climate collapse.

“Large companies like Barclays are secretly investing in these polluters and most people have no idea. That is why we are here today, to make people aware of what is going on,” said Tacha who is a nanny and volunteers with pro-environment movements and organizations.

“This is my home here. So, I am going to try to protect my home and try and make people aware of how my home is in danger.”

Don Reynolds has joined the protest because he is worried about his grandchildren and their future.

Man holding placard
“I am here today to encourage as many people as possible to not bank with Barclays,” said Don Reynolds

 “I think everyone needs to be aware of the impact they are having on the planet but particularly multinational companies. ”

Aaliya is one of the many customers at Barclays who was unaware of the bank’s investments in fossil fuels. “Honestly, I am shocked. I had no idea about this or I would never have chosen to bank with them. I am very concerned about climate change and this makes me angry.”

People holding banner in front of Barclays
The protest saw people across professions and age-groups

The option of changing banks however is not appealing to some people. “Barclays is a leading bank. They offer the best services in comparison to other banks. I would consider changing banks if the other alternatives provided services as good as them but that’s not the case,” said Ann who has been a customer with the bank since she was a teenager.

banners by extinction rebellion
Protests against Barclays also took place in Bangor and Northampton

Sophie on the other hand asserts that time is running out and soon it will be too late to rescue the planet. “There is no economy on a dead planet. In the future, when the climate has collapsed and there are millions of climate refugees, money won’t matter. What matters is what we can do now to stop this climate crisis because in a few years the effects will be irreversible and it will be too late to do anything.”