Vermont Elders Protest Chase Bank’s Fossil Fuel Investments

by Greg Dennis

June 2022

Over two dozen senior citizens with Third Act Vermont gathered last month at Chase Bank in Burlington — as part of the national campaign against Chase’s massive investments in fossil fuel projects.

Third Act is a new national organization co-founded by longtime CEAC supporter Bill McKibben, who lives in Ripton. The rapidly growing group organizes elders to focus on climate change and voting rights — a proud organization of “fossils against fossil fuels.”

This first-ever climate protest by Third Act Vermont elders highlighted the bank’s role in fueling climate chaos by continuing to finance new coal, oil and gas projects around the world. 

“Chase investments fuel a climate emergency that is affecting Vermont more than most states. We now have higher-than-average temperatures — witness near-record heat this May — and greater, more destructive levels of precipitation,” said Sudbury resident Ross Eisenbrey, an organizer of the protest.

“Chase’s way of doing business threatens Vermont farms, traditional businesses such as maple sugaring, and the future of those who will inherit the crisis when we elders pass on.”

Among the event organizers were Greg Dennis, a founding board member of CEAC,  and Weybridge resident Fran Putnam.

“Elders offer a unique voice against climate change,” Putnam said. “We have a direct stake in slowing global warming to protect the planet, our children, our grandchildren and our financial investments.”

Mike Pieciak, a Democrat running for state treasurer, briefly visited the event while campaigning nearby. He told organizers he supports working with pensioners and the state pension funds to eliminate fossil fuel investments from the Vermont portfolio. UVM, the state of Maine and many other institutions have committed to divestment, but Vermont so far has not.

A group of Burlington High School students also dropped by the event as part of the school’s City & Lake Semester — making the gathering one of both high school seniors and senior citizens.

A letter delivered to the Chase bank manager stated that if Chase does not stop funding new climate-wrecking projects by the end of 2022, Third Act Vermont will join with thousands of customers “and close our checking, savings, and credit card accounts” with the bank. 

You can get more info about the national campaign and climate pledge here:

This Burlington action was one of many held and planned around the U.S. at four banks (Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citi) that are the world’s biggest bank funders of climate-busting coal, oil and gas projects.

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