Standard Chartered: Can you see what you are doing?
October 10, 2023 by Extinction Rebellion
A selection of heartbreaking images capturing scenes of environmental destruction, by renowned photographer Gideon Mendel, were displayed by climate protestors outside Standard Chartered’s London office this week (9 October) to protest the Bank’s sponsorship of the Royal Meteorological Society’s Weather Photographer of the Year competition, while continuing to fund the development of fossil fuel projects.
Gideon Mendel’s photography bears stark witness to the suffering wreaked on communities and the widespread environmental destruction created by wildfires, which are occuring ever more frequently as global temperatures continue to rise, fuelled by the burning of fossil fuels.
According to the Royal Meteorological Society’s website, the annual Standard Chartered Photography Competition, now in its eighth year, aims to “provide an international platform to raise awareness about the environmental issues putting our planet at risk.”
With no sign of irony, considering this year’s competition is sponsored by a Bank which in 2022 alone funded fossil fuel companies to the tune of $5.1bn, the Royal Meteorological Society notes: “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today, and its impact on the environment and human health significantly affects sustainable economic growth and the future of society.”
A spokesperson from Money Rebellion, which organised the action, called on Standard Chartered to really look at how its billions of dollars of funding is contributing to widespread climate and environmental breakdown and societal trauma and stop financing the fossil fuel sector NOW.
The spokesperson said: “The photography contest suggests that extreme weather is sublime, underplays the perils, the extent of the resulting destruction and does not mention the causes of climate change. This year has shown us that nobody is safe.
“In visual dialogue with this award, the images from Gideon Mendell are from communities and landscapes ravaged by wildfires around the world.
“As we experience the alarming rise in global temperatures everywhere, there is clear evidence that these fires are intrinsically linked to the combustion of fossil fuels enabled by banks like Standard Chartered.
“With these images we invite all those complicit in the funding of climate change to look directly at the consequences of their business.
“In the seven years since it began supporting this competition Standard Chartered Bank has invested over $46 billion in fossil fuel projects. These pictures are a “beautiful” warning that we could be next.”
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