Williams Lake saw one of many Fridays For Futures ‘People Not Profit’ Global Day of Action events on March 25.
A group of local citizens holding signs and waving an Earth flag gathered on the steps of city hall and then walked a short loop downtown, including a stop in front of the Royal Bank (RBC).
The events were taking place across Canada and were initiated by youth activist groups to raise awareness of the role of Canadian financial institutions in funding fossil fuel projects contributing to climate change including the Coastal GasLink project and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Williams Lake was included with Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Waterloo and Kingston in hosting the calls for an end to Canadian banks financing the fossil fuel industry.
RBC, Toronto Dominion, and Scotiabank are named as all making the top 12 of the largest financial investors in fossil fuels, according to a report titled Banking on Climate Chaos 2021 by the Rainforest Action Network.
RBC is cited in the report as the fifth largest investor on the list, making it the top of the Canadian banks.
Simultaneously, RBC’s own website shows the bank committed to net-zero emissions in their lending by 2050 and has joined the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, which promises to partner in supporting Paris Agreement goals in reducing carbon emissions.
Local Third Planet Crusade leaders Ella Kruus and Julia Zirnhelt are two Williams Lake high school students who have been campaigning for climate change action locally for years and have supported political campaigns for the Green Party candidates in the region.
The young activists said they have also placed questions to Williams Lake’s mayor and council regarding the city’s plan for combating climate change.