To the editor: You may have seen some of your neighbors in front of TDBank on Bonnet Street (Route 30 in Manchester), holding signs. (Similar protests have been held in front of the Brattleboro branch of TDBank). You may have asked yourself: “Why are they there? What are they protesting? What do they want?” I’d like to answer those questions.
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We are there because TDBank is one of the largest investors in a company named Enbridge, that is building a pipeline across northern Minnesota to a refinery at Lake Superior. The pipeline - called Line 3 - will carry highly corrosive crude oil that has been extracted from tar sands in Canada. The environmental impact statement found that Line 3 would add 193,000,000 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, equivalent to adding 38 million cars to the road, and equivalent to adding 50 new coal plants running for 50 years!
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Recently, TDBank loaned millions of dollars to Enbridge to complete the Line 3 pipeline. Without financing from banks like TD, the pipeline could not be built. Period. We are protesting to alert our friends and neighbors that money you deposit in TDBank is being used to finance the Line 3 pipeline. And, we are asking, hoping, that folks will not only withdraw their money from TD, but will take the extra step and tell the bank manager why. Banks are sensitive to public pressure, especially from their depositors.
Now, you may be asking: “What good is that going to do?” That’s a fair question. Let me answer by way of a parable: “A young man walked onto a beach and saw tens of thousands of starfish washed up on shore, dying in the hot sun. He saw an old man stooping over, picking up one at a time, and throwing them into the ocean. The young man walked over and said: ‘What are you doing, old man? You’ll never save all these starfish.’ The old man didn’t reply; he picked up a starfish, held it up to the young man, and before throwing it in the water, said: ‘I can save this one.’ ”
With headlines about climate change causing record heat waves, devastating forest fires, droughts, floods, mass extinctions, CO2 levels spiraling out of control, it’s easy to feel helpless. What can one person do? Honestly, not much. But if each of us does all that we can, together we can make a difference.
Start by withdrawing your money from financial institutions, such as TDBank, that fund pipelines. And join us Fridays at noon on Bonnet Street in Manchester.
Manchester, July 16