Protest Outside First Ever Barclays BANK

On Friday 25th June at approximately 12.30pm members of Extinction Rebellion Buddhists conducted a walking meditation to the beat of a slow drum to Barclays Bank at 19 Fleet Street, the first Barclays to be opened in the UK. They sat in meditation across the front of the Bank wearing placards reading ‘Barclays the Ecocide Bank.’ The protest was to highlight the bank’s unrelenting high investment in fossil fuel projects.

A man with a large red drum on his hip, with his arm raised holding the drumstick.
Les drums to accompany the walking meditation photo by Lou Graphy

Despite its stated commitment [1]  to reduce its lending to move to net zero emissions by 2050, Barclays has actually increased their lending to fossil fuels projects last year [2]

Barclays has invested almost $145bn in fossil fuel industries since the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015. Barclays is the biggest investor in fossil fuel projects of any bank in Europe and seventh biggest in the world. The bank’s investments are also impacting indigenous communities in the USA and elsewhere, and increasing deforestation. [3]

a line of people wearing black, wearing signs which read 'Barclays the Ecocide Bank', and 'In Love and Grief for the Earth'.
XR Buddhists walking meditation to Barclays, photo by Lou Graphy

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Buddhists UK said:

‘We are targeting the first Barclays bank to be opened in the UK. It is a lovely building but unfortunately the history of its investments is not so lovely. From its funding of the apartheid regime in the 1960s, to its current continuing funding of destructive coal, oil and gas projects across the planet it continues to be a destructive force in the financial world. And this is despite the clear scientific evidence of the imminent dangers of its investments and its pledge to be a net zero bank by 2050. XR Buddhists are engaging in a peaceful meditation action today. In bringing our faith tradition to the front lines of activism we embody a peaceful determination to protect our one precious Earth and all of life. We hold the staff of Barclays in our hearts also; they are also going to be impacted by climate breakdown. But as a company we consider Barclays to be acting in a way that meets the definition of the crime of ecocide, recently published by the Ecocide Foundation.’

In the last few days the crime of Ecocide has been formulated by an independent expert panel comprising twelve lawyers from around the world. They are proposing that the crime of  Ecocide be added to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This would make it a criminal offence to commit: unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts. [4] 

  • Three people sitting outside Barclays. There is a banner reading XR Buddhists on the ground.
  • A person sitting in meditation inside the bank
  • A person sitting in meditation inside the bank
  • A line of people in walking meditation. The person at the front holds a sign reading Barclays the Ecocide Bank.

There are almost a quarter of a million Buddhists in the UK: a growing number are becoming concerned about the impacts that humans are having on the climate and on other living beings.  Recently, the Dalai Lama joined 100 other Nobel Prize laureates to call for action on climate change.  The letter stated “Climate change is threatening hundreds of millions of lives, livelihoods across every continent, and is putting thousands of species at risk. The burning of fossil fuels—coal, oil, and gas—is by far the major contributor to climate change [5]”.

Contact:

For further information on Extinction Rebellion Buddhists, for photos or interviews please contact us via email at: info@xrbuddhists.com or 07532 383676

Notes

[1] seeOur ambition to be a net zero bank by 2050’ March 2020

https://home.barclays/society/our-position-on-climate-change/

[2] ‘Barclays has increased its financing of fossil fuel firms despite setting a ‘net zero’ goal for itself earlier this year following investor pressure, according to a new report.’ 

https://www.cityam.com/barclays-fossil-fuel-financing-increases-despite-net-zero-pledge/

[3] Banking on Climate Chaos Rainforest Action Network

https://www.ran.org/bankingonclimatechaos2021/

[4] For more details see The Stop Ecocide Foundation:
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ca2608ab914493c64ef1f6d/t/60d1e6e604fae2201d03407f/1624368879048/SE+Foundation+Commentary+and+core+text+rev+6.pdf

[5] Dalai Lama Joins Nobel Laureates in Earth Day Appeal to Eliminate Fossil Fuels

https://www.buddhistdoor.net/news/dalai-lama-joins-nobel-laureates-in-earth-day-appeal-to-eliminate-fossil-fuels

Posts and articles are the views of their authors and not necessarily of the XR Buddhists group.

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