Monday, April 23, 2012

The Sunny Side of Occupying Victories

Wells Fargo is having their annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco Tuesday. I believe the Occupiers will be in attendance protesting a jumble of demands. My wonders go to the strategic sunny days in the beautiful city; but consider that I’m hundreds of miles away and have to face an immigration law final this week, my attention span is firmly planted here. Part of me wants to be part of that occupying movement, I have heard that banks are all the evil enmassed.

Yet the irony of San Francisco’s immigrant past and its embracing of environmental protection today demands attention. So while I cannot attend either the shareholder meeting or the protest, I can help at least opinionate to my own satisfaction. That’s what the world needs these days anyway, another unsolicited fool telling it like how his twisted mind sees on the open vast Internet space:

Strap in!

Wells Fargo announced that it will commit to $30 billion in loans and investments towards building a greener economy. This is not the first time the bank has made a pledge, it had previously promised and surpassed the $1 billion by 2010 ambition by more than $2 billion. In 2011, it had totaled $11.7 billion in green investments. With the new $30 billion promising mark, the bank will deliver a host of incentives for solar, wind, and efficiency engineering to the power game.

The bank’s CEO, in a statement, also affirms its commitment “in promoting the long-term economic prosperity and quality of life of the communities we serve,” It had pledged $100 million in helping grassroots environmental efforts, increased LEED compliance to 35%, and continues to build on what it calls the “human capital.”  

Wells Fargo is not the only ones on the block kicking the green bucket around. Bank of America had posted more than $11 billion in investment since 2007; global venture capital investments in this sector reached almost $9 billion in 2011.

But I’m not going to argue if Wells Fargo is doing enough. That’s a waste of time simply because after the 2009 market crash, the banks and public corporations are under a much more stricter scrutiny from both the government and the public. They are doing what they can and if they wish not to do their best, at least a legislative floor governs their social responsibility efforts.

I’m not saying lift the pressure on the banks either, because they need to be reminded that we care about where our money is going: not warlords and dirty companies but good-doers and clean techs. So protest all you can in the sunny city of San Francisco; may the force be with you.

What I really think is the key now for the Occupying movement is the private sector; not the small mom and pop stores. I’m talking about multi-national private conglomerates that seems to be able to invade any communities at will, take what they want and make a quick profit, then leaves the clean up and restoration work for the people displaced in the first place. (See my wife's post yesterday about Peabody.)

While the young and the restless protests in the sunny San Francisco, it’s the Bobs of places, where coal-mining rights are given away in exchange for polluted strip pits with funkedified fishes, who ought to be up in arms. If anyone ought to do any sort of occupying, it ought to be in places where the water is black, neighborhoods blighted, children starving, and teens murdered; not where diversity is celebrated and progress is made.

But then again, troubled places are usually not sunny, do not have places to surf afterwards, and the people’s problems do not go away just because a bunch of teenagers have taken over a public park and declared play money on cardboard.

Troubled places are usually unseen and are troubled on the dark side . . . .

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