“Better without Barclays!” Extinction Rebellion in Plymouth

Photo and video by the author

Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion in Devon and Cornwall gathered with Plymothians today to stage a symbolic silent funeral procession through Plymouth to Barclays bank. This was part of a “Better Without Barclays” campaign, a UK-wide movement calling out the investments that Barclays make in the fossil fuel industry.

The funeral march, complete with coffin, pall bearers and mourners, passed silently through the crowded city centre while leaflets were handed out detailing Barclays’ ongoing investments in fossil fuels.  Arriving at Barclays bank at midday, the coffin was set down while names were read aloud of eco-activists from around the world who had been murdered while defending the earth. At the same time, a protester stood at the top of a ladder against the building waving a sign that read “Stop Funding Fossil Fuels Now”.

Following this, a smaller group of protestors entered Barclays banking hall and staged a sit-in while the names were again read out.

Barclays Bank is the worst bank in Europe for financing fossil fuels. Between 2016 and 2019 the bank invested $118bn in coal and oil – the largest investment by a 36 per cent margin.  This included companies involved in projects including coal extraction, fracking, and exploitation of Arctic oil.

Barclays also funds Drax, the UK’s single largest carbon emitter and the world’s largest burner of trees. Biofuel Watch has proven that these trees are being cut down at unsustainable rates and that no country is taking responsibility for the carbon emissions created.

Sian Aubrey, Plymouth XR said:

“While the climate and nature crisis escalates, Barclays reward themselves for their supposed “ethical spending”. But the truth is that they have increased their investments into fossil fuels at an alarming rate year-on-year and now invest twice as much as they did in 2018. They have used the pandemic as a distraction to increase their profits by neglecting their ethical responsibilities.”

Tim Ponton, Totnes XR said,

“People are mostly unaware that the money they have with banks is likely to be part of multi-billion-pound loans to companies that are not only responsible for creating the climate crisis, but are also responsible for the huge energy price hikes we are hearing about in the news. We are asking people to check their own bank at https://switchit.green/ . Switching banks is very easy.

“The government says it cares about the climate, yet HMRC uses Barclays to process its payments and the government continues with investment in fossil fuels. Our taxes are being used to fund new oil and gas expansion that will stop us from meeting the agreed targets on climate change. It is madness, but it will only stop if people speak out.’