By Sarah Jost
On the night of January 12, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) activists converted all 85 Bank of America ATMs in San Francisco into Automated Truth Machines. Special non-adhesive stickers designed to look just like Bank of America’s normal ATM interface were placed over the screens and options like ‘Withdrawal’ and ‘Deposit’ were replaced with ‘Invest in Coal-fired Power Plants’ and ‘Foreclose on America’s Homes.’
According to RAN, Bank of America has invested over $4.3 billion in the coal industry in the past two years. Coal accounts for 43% of global carbon emissions and emits more carbon per unit of energy than oil, and 80% more than natural gas. The pollution caused by coal is extremely hazardous to human and animal health and mountain top coal removal is destroying America’s natural beauty and local communities.
Bank of America has plenty of other dirty practices in addition to funding coal. Despite receiving a $138 billion bailout, awarding its executives millions of dollars in bonuses every year, and having no federal income tax expenses (in 2010, they actually reported a tax benefit of almost $1 billion), Bank of America plans to cut approximately 30,000 jobs. The ATM usage fee announced last year was met with a huge public outcry and ultimately reversed.
Activists have now created Automated Truth Machines in New York City and Charlotte, North Carolina. As the Move Our Money campaign continues to gain attention and supporters, more modified ATMS are expected to appear in cities across the U.S. Individuals and organisations have moved $58,671,499 out of big banks like Bank of America. Moving your money to a community bank or credit union is one easy way to help take the power away from big corporations and put it back in the hands of individuals.
Visit Bankrupting America for more information.