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April Fool: Chase Bank Target of ID Youth Climate Activist Flash Mob

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Young people in Boise have been holding rallies calling for action on climate change in recent years. (thauwald-pictures/Adobe Stock)
Young people in Boise have been holding rallies calling for action on climate change in recent years. (thauwald-pictures/Adobe Stock)
 By Eric Tegethoff - Producer, Contact
April 1, 2021

BOISE, Idaho -- Chase Bank is receiving an April Fool's greeting today from Boise youths, who are calling the institution out for its investment in fossil fuels.

A recent report found JPMorgan Chase has financed $317 billion worth of coal, oil and gas projects since the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted in 2016, the most of any bank.

That's prompted Extinction Rebellion Youth Boise to hold a flash-mob dance party at the city's downtown location.

Petra Hoffman, a Boise High School sophomore and one of the group's coordinators, noted JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said he supports the Paris Agreement.

"But money speaks a lot louder than what you say, and he's being very two-faced," Hoffman contended. "On one side he's saying, 'I want to protect your future,' and then he's putting his money towards actively destroying our world, actively destroying our environment, and actively destroying our future, really."

Boise activists, as well as opponents around the country, also are protesting Chase Bank's financial support for the Line 3 tar sands pipeline through indigenous land in Minnesota.

Chase's fossil fuel investments are trending downward since 2016, and it has committed to having net-zero emissions by 2050.

Other major banks also are committing to net-zero goals as the Biden administration considers major action on climate change.

Shiva Rajbhandari, also a Boise High School sophomore and one of the group's coordinators, said he's happy to see President Joe Biden focus on the climate crisis, but added organizers should credit themselves for pushing Biden on the issue.

"Biden's decisions around that aren't necessarily just Biden's," Rajbhandari asserted. "They're the decisions of the American people, and climate action - government climate action - is incredibly popular among Americans, and it's the most popular among young people worldwide."

The Boise government is also focused on climate change. It's assembling a Youth Climate Action Council to help guide its planning. Both Hoffman and Rajbhandari are applying.

Hoffman pointed out civil disobedience is powerful but thinks it should be paired with action from leaders.

"That always has to go hand-in-hand with understanding policy and legislation and working with people in power," Hoffman stressed. "Because without that step, you'll just disturb forever, and you won't be able to build something."

The city of Boise is accepting applications for the Council through Sunday.

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