In September of last year, I participated in the local Climate Strike. We marched to different financial institutions and demonstrated on their front steps against their investments in the fossil fuel industry. We held signs, we sang songs, we were doing something for the planet.
My intention at the time was to switch to a socially and environmentally responsible credit union the moment the march ended. (I happened to be a life-long member of one of the banks we were protesting in front of!)
Well, that was months ago. The reason no follow-through took place? Mmm..…the usual suspects: procrastination, limited bandwidth, rationalization (e.g., that my very modest bank accounts didn’t really amount to much so why bother with the hassle of transferring them, etc.).
At the rally, I fully intended to follow my conscience and do the right thing. And yet, the power of inertia watered me down to half-measures. Protesting is well and good, but better to be living the ethical practices you’re demonstrating for!
So, thanks to the public accountability of this blog, I have finally made the switch. Here’s what it took: 1) online researching of different local credit unions (1 hour), 2) booking and attending an appointment with the credit union representative to become a member and open new accounts (1.5 hours), 3) doing the online/phone legwork to transfer all my automatic payments to the new accounts (2 hours), and 4) visiting my old bank to close out my account (yet to be done, but probably < .5 hour).
In the process, I realized that my default excuse of “I don’t have time” is just not true. It took five hours out of my life for the worthy cause of helping the Earth and not being a hypocrite, at least on this one measure. I also got to develop a relationship with a real person at the credit union (in contrast to a relationship with the phone tree at my old bank). A promising start to the New Year!