Last Tuesday people worldwide came together to show solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and demonstrated against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Also students in Lund gathered downtown to take a stand against the project and to demand the withdrawal of the Swedish banks that invested money in this pipeline project.
The Dakota Access Pipeline Project
The Dakota Access Pipeline is one part of the Bakken pipeline project. This underground pipeline is supposed to go through four national states in the US starting in North Dakota and ending up in Illinois. According to the protestors and the Standing Rock Sioux it was planned without considering the preservation of their sacred land, the wildlife habitat and the possible contamination of water sources through an oil spill.
As the government has lacked to consult with the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota during the whole planning process, the pipeline project began to receive enormous critics and was finally transformed into a movement of protest. These protests tarted back in 2014, but it was this spring people worldwide began to spread a global movement of solidarity with the Native Americans in North Dakota. By using the hashtag #NoDAPL people also began to take advantage of social media to make more people aware of the situation and spread the word in favor of the Native Americans.
The Global Action Day In Lund
All these grievances united citizens around the world to show solidarity with the Sioux tribe. Bergitte Lowzow and Johannes Löhr, two of the main coordinators of the demonstration in Lund see the global action day not only as chance to show solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux, but also to make people aware of the involvement of the Swedish banks in the pipeline project. Therefore they organized, besides the normal demonstration with banners, a short tour through Lund with stops in front of three Swedish banks that invested money in the pipeline project.
“The seven biggest banks in Sweden are financing the pipeline project with Nordea having the biggest share of all of them”, explains Bergitte Lowzow. For her, it is important to point out that we as customers can pressure the banks and that we have the power to change something, for instance by switching to anther bank.
Non-Transparent Banking System
It is still rarely the case that consumers know where a bank invests their money. The banking practices are extremely unclear, which makes it difficult for us to choose the right bank. Johannes Löhr sees the action day also as chance to exactly address this problem:
“We want to create images in peoples’ heads that makes them connect the big banks with such businesses as for example the pipeline project.”
Both strongly condemn the pipeline project and stress that also if they are not directly affected by the consequences, each of us has a certain responsibility, as Bergitte Lowzow explains:
“Of course I am not directly affected by the loss of sacred land or contaminated water in the US. But everybody is affected by the fact that other human beings are treated badly. I think it does not matter where you live, each of us should stand up and question what is happening there.”
Over 70 people took part in the demonstration in Lund. They could not change the decisions the American government made, but they made other people aware of the situation in North Dakota and achieved to stimulate thought.
If you want to see how fair and sustainable your Swedish bank is, you can check this website: http://fairfinanceguide.se/ (It is in Swedish).