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TUESDAY, MAY 06, 2008

Start your own coal & coal finance campaign; Here's how.

Now that bank shareholder season is over (BOA, Citi), I wanted to put something out about coal and coal finance campaigns going into the summer. Since, we're all part of this KICK ASS decentralized massive movement against coal and coal finance, we need to continue to put pressure on them. The coal finance campaign that I work on at Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has been pressuring Citi and Bank of America to end their financing of coal from the cradle to the grave since October. With the help of lots of friends and allies, we've done lots of actions and encouraged, inspired and facilitated lots more actions against these banks and the coal industry in general. We support and work in solidarity with communities fighting strip mining and mountaintop removal and those impacted by coal-fired power plants. citiBUT, RAN can only do so much and people don't need us to start their own coal and coal finance campaigns. If you live in place that is impacted by coal extraction or coal combustion, or headquarters coal and utility companies, than by all means keep up what you are doing! If you live in a place without coal or utility operations or offices, please look towards the financiers of coal. The two most heavily involved banks are Citi and Bank of America. Citi has over 1000 branches around the country. They also have hundreds of Citi Financial and other branded business. Bank of America has 6,000 banking centers in almost every state. These banks depend on a customer base to provide capital to finance their earth destroying friends in the coal sector (amongst others). More simply, there is most likely a Bank of America or Citi in your community and they, and their customers, could use a little "education" about what exactly the corporate headquarters is doing with all the money. Every local action and campaign against Citi and Bank of America is an action and campaign against the coal sector. Why Citi and Bank of America? -Citi is the biggest financier of coal from the cradle to the grave in the world, here's some details on that -Bank of America is banker to some of the worst extraction companies on the planet (Massey, Peabody. Check out ALL the details here If you want a guide to starting a local campaign, check out these toolkits: -No New Coal Campus Toolkit -No New Coal Toolkit -Signs, Brands and Banners Our campaign has not been going at this alone. We work with a network of radical environmental networks, student networks, Appalachian community groups, native community group and non-profits in this campaign against coal and coal finance. Since October, various groups have worked with us on a variety of actions and campaign activities. RAN is not able to be everywhere all the time. It's far from being just one group's campaign or movement. Check them out: -Rising Tide North America -Mountain Justice Summer -Earth First! -Student Environmental Action Network (SEAC) -Southern Energy Network -Coal River Mountain watch -Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition -Appalachian Voices -Kentuckians for the Commonwealth kayford Tactically, we use non-violent direct action and other creative communications techniques to let the coal barons and their friends on Wall Street know that we mean business. Some are low level, some are high level. We are ALL non-violent cultural and political insurgents against the fossil fuel empire. Some of these include the following: -petitions -call-ins to bank offices -viral online actions -shareholder activism -demonstrations -film screenings -occupations -lockdowns -street theater -mass direct action BUT this is just a few examples, check out a much larger list put together by Gene Sharp Right now there is a vibrant diverse decentralized multi-level multi-strategy GLOBAL movement around coal and an even bigger, more diverse and more decentralized one around global warming. Taking on the coal companies, the coal plants and the coal financiers is one part of it. Keep the slogan "Think Globally, Act Locally" in mind when organizing your campaign. Form your own group, collective or affinity group to start organizing in your own community. We're all agents for change against the fossil fuel empire and it begins at home.

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