…on the tenth day of Christmas my green friend gave to me…ten traded shares…nine native plants…eight motion sensor lights…seven chakra gems…six solar panels…five milkweed plants…four pints of milk…three wax wraps…two re-purposed pallets…and a smart ther-mo-stat!
Ten traded shares? What in the world? Actually, my green friend gave me 10 shares of a “fossil-free” mutual fund, one that does not invest in fossil fuel companies. One of my 2015 aspirations was to “break-up” with my mega-bank credit cards and accounts since most of the large banks invest in the fossil fuel industry. Even if you don’t invest in stocks or mutual funds, if you have a bank and/or checking account you are an investor so investing in companies that align with your beliefs should be important.
Last month The Clean Energy Victory Bond Act of 2015 was introduced into Congress. For as little as $25, all Americans could buy these Treasury bonds that support solar, wind, geothermal, electric vehicles and energy-efficiency. Click here to learn more about the benefits or watch the video below. I will be calling my representatives to urge them to vote in favor of this act.
There are many ways to invest with a green conscience. You can invest in energy upgrades for your home, reap the benefits of tax credits and realize the added value when you sell. You can move your bank accounts, invest in mutual funds, certificates of deposit or exchange traded funds in your IRA, 401K or your investment account. If your financial institution can’t offer products that align with your beliefs then it may be time to find a new financial institution. For help finding a bank for your CDs, banking/checking accounts take a look at Green America‘s website, BreakUpWithYourMegaBank.org. If you want to investigate potential credit card companies try TakeChargeOfYourCard.org. This is where I began my search and found several credit cards that I would be proud to use.
Bank of America, Citigroup, and JP Morgan Chase have ranked as the top-three financiers of mountain top removal coal mining and coal-fired power plants in the US, according to a report by the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, and BankTrack. In May, 2015, Bank of America announced they would divest from coal projects, but that still leaves fossil fuel investments in their portfolios. Community banks, with their mission to “lift-up” communities by investing in small, local businesses are a good option for your bank and checking accounts.
In December, 2014 I searched and found my new bank, First Green Bank, headquartered in Orlando, that was one of the first banks in the US to have an environmental and social mission. I liked their story and the banking experience of their investors. I moved my checking and bank accounts in January, 2015 and my credit cards followed later. I love that their branches are solar-powered and offer fair-trade coffee and organic treats when you visit the branch. With online banking available and mobile apps I am not concerned that the closest branch is 45 miles away and have not found it inconvenient at all. I will be talking with them about their solar loans when I get ready to install all those solar panels I received this year and last year from my green friend.
I have to agree with Green America’s statement: “With the climate crisis intensifying, we all need to take a stand to oppose dirty energy and support clean energy alternatives. One of the most powerful actions we can take is divesting from fossil fuels and reinvesting funds in the clean energy economy.” I may only be one person but if all of us invest in what we believe in a ripple effect will occur and changes will occur.
Have you moved any of your financial investments, bank accounts or credit cards to align with your philosophies? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below. I hope you will join me tomorrow for the Eleventh Day of a Green Christmas.