This Lent, Christian Aid supporters across the UK are visiting branches of HSBC and delivering letters to the Chief Executive, asking the bank to stop investing in harmful fossil fuels which contribute to climate change.
HSBC says it’s committed to renewable energy, but recently announced new investment in coal power stations. Here, Nick Thorley describes how our recent visits went – with mixed results.
Retford in the rain
A group of Christian Aid supporters in Retford visited their local bank. They were full of enthusiasm; not only did they take the letter which had been signed by many people in their churches, but they also took along some posters for a photo outside the bank, and a large box of biscuits to give to the staff. They'd been told that they could meet the manager and give him the letter.
But things didn’t go to plan.
The group were told they couldn’t see the manager. The staff said they couldn’t accept the biscuits. It poured with rain. The Methodist Minister taking part said it was 'a bit of a damp squib'.
At first, I felt disappointed and I certainly felt sorry that the group had such a negative experience. However, on further reflection I’ve concluded that this is a really important lesson and I’m using their story extensively.
Challenging injustice is never easy. Doing the right thing doesn’t always feel good. Campaigning is often hard work and tedious. Things didn’t go to plan but they delivered the letter, and we know that this kind of action has a real impact.
A local campaigner in Chesterfield organised a bank visit in Chesterfield on Saturday 9 March, with support from the local Climate Alliance Group. There was a good turnout from people wanting to help and also a few other people stop and want to get involved in future actions.
Throughout the morning, and despite the rain, our supporters handed out leaflets and postcards to passers-by, and at the end a staff member handed in the letter for the Chief Executive of HSBC.
Rise up this Lent
Another campaigner who is organising next week’s visit to HSBC in Mansfield emailed me saying: 'Its so encouraging that our friends in Retford have already taken this action.'
I hope you find it encouraging too – I hope you’ll think about joining in.
Remember that it’s the small steps and tiny unspectacular actions that all add up to bringing the changes we long for.
If you’d like to get involved in your area, please email me.