TARA HOUSKA & RUTH BREECH on Divesting from Toxic Capitalism /133

Photo of Alberta Oil Sands by Louis Bockner

Photo of Alberta Oil Sands by Louis Bockner

Climate disaster is unfolding before our eyes every day, and yet banks have poured $1.9 trillion into maintaining and expanding the fossil fuel industry since the Paris Agreement was adopted. These investments prop up a dying trade while destroying our slim chance to stabilize global temperatures at a rise of 1.5°C. Around the world, banks are complicit in funding climate change and violating the rights of Indigenous peoples, humans, and Nature through their direct ties to the most extreme fossil fuel activities, including the tar sands, Arctic drilling, and fracking in the Permian Basin.

A global movement of climate activists and Indigenous people are demanding accountability and uniting to end greed, with divestment rising as a dynamic tool that disrupts the flow of financing between banks and the relentless fossil fuel machine. Indigenous women have been leading divestment delegations that empower them to meet directly with the financers behind violent extractive projects, building upon the foundational work of Eriel Deranger, Heather Milton-Lightning, Melina Laboucan-Massimo and others, who pressured the backers behind BP & Shell's oil projects in the tar sands, Arctic and Nigeria. In this sharp-sighted interview, Tara Houska, Ruth Breech, and Ayana reveal the dirty union between the banking and fossil fuel industries and explore practical and powerful strategies that impact their bottom line.

The language of capitalism, the language of the USD paper currency is really toxic. Capitalism was built on genocide and slavery and I think those things are always really present and that is the business of those banks...
— Ruth Beech / Episode 133
Tara Houska

Tara Houska

Our guests this week are Ruth Breech and Tara Houska. Ruth is a Senior Campaigner with Rainforest Action Network’s Climate and Energy team. She is working to meet the scale of the global climate crisis through corporate accountability campaigns focused on Chase Bank’s financing of climate change, supporting front line communities impacted by fossil fuel projects and racial justice within the environmental movement. Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe) is a tribal attorney, the former National Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth, and a former advisor on Native American affairs to Bernie Sanders. She advocates on behalf of tribal nations at the local and federal levels on a wide range of issues impacting indigenous peoples. She spent six months on the frontlines in North Dakota fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline, and is heavily engaged in the movement to defund fossil fuels and a years-long struggle against Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline. She is a co-founder of Not Your Mascots, a non-profit committed to educating the public about the harms of stereotyping and promoting positive representation of Native Americans in the public sphere.Join us as Tara, Ruth, and Ayana navigate the worlds of man camps and resistance movements, track money trails, meet face to face with European banking leaders, and enter the boardrooms of America’s wealthiest shareholder meetings. Through strategy and story, we will learn how to target the heart of petro-capitalism with our dollars, and reflect on how the end-goals of divestment must lead to a just transition from fossil fuels.

♫ Music by Jordan Moser & Lake Mary



  • If you are able to, cut ties with your bank or institutions that are funding fossil fuels, and share your message with others. You can find information about your bank’s investments using the Banking on Climate Change Report Card and by visiting www.fossilbanks.org/#banks 

  • Write letters and phone your banking manager and regional director to tell them to divest from toxic projects.


  • Mazaska Talks is an Indigenous umbrella organization that serves as a networking hub for divestment strategy, and focuses on targeting Enbridge Line 3, Trans Mountain, Keystone XL and Energy East pipelines. Visit their website for in-depth guides how to divest yourself, your community, institutions, and use their resources to spread the word! Visit https://mazaskatalks.org/ 

  • Participate in #ShutDownChase or other actions happening in your local cities. Or start up your own divestment campaign in your own community. 

  • You can support the “Divest, Invest, Protect” campaign to help Indigenous Women’s Delegations defend human and Indigenous rights, and the rights of nature through education, advocacy and action by making a financial donation online at https://www.wecaninternational.org/donate

  • Indigenous Climate Action empowers communities and inspires Indigenous peoples to take climate action through gatherings, amplifying voices, creating resources, and supporting Indigenous sovereignty. Consider making a donation to support their work at https://www.indigenousclimateaction.com/donate

  • Learn more about the links between banks and fossil fuel projects by visiting Rainforest Action Network’s website, where you can add your voice to the pledge to Stop Chase and similar campaigns. You can also give to the RAN’s Climate Action Fund which provides grants to local groups tackling the root causes of climate change. Visit:  https://www.ran.org/issue/climate/

About Our Podcast…

At For The Wild, we discuss the critical ideas of our time and parlay them into action for the defense and regeneration of natural communities. Key topics include the rediscovery of wild nature, ecological renewal and resistance, and healing from the trauma of individualistic society. We will travel deep into ancient forests, align with the struggles and ways of Earth-based people, and rekindle the mysteries of intuition. We will join today’s brightest visionaries in this momentous work of reimagining a world where humanity can find its way back into the web of life.

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