UBC student glues himself to RBC branch in protest against RBC funding Coastal GasLink Pipeline

A second-year neuroscience student glued himself to a RBC branch in downtown Vancouver yesterday to protest the company’s financing of the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline and the fossil fuel industry.

Isaac Schwein, alongside another climate advocate, glued himself to the glass doors of the RBC on West Hastings and Granville St. around 9:25 a.m. yesterday, blocking customers from entering the bank.

The bank responded by calling the police, who arrived in a little over 30 minutes.

“[The police] didn’t do anything for a while … and eventually asked us to remove ourselves or else they would charge us,” Schwein said. The pair unfastened themselves an hour and a half later after the police arrived, but remained at the location holding signs and handing out flyers for a few more hours.

Their actions are part of a greater, nation-wide movement known as #GlueYourselfToAnRBC, which Schwein described as a “decentralized civil resistance movement” demanding RBC to stop funding the CGL pipeline and making investments in fossil fuel. Climate Justice UBC also held a protest against RBC last October.

20220217 rbc protest courtesy isaac schwein

In March 2021, RBC was one of the world's top bankers funding the fossil fuel industry.

The CGL pipeline — which is planned to be 670-kilometer long, extending from Dawson Creek, Alberta to the LNG Canada Facility in Kitimat, BC — was approved by the BC government’s Environmental Assessment Office in 2014.

Since then, it has drawn heavy public opposition due to its harmful environmental impact and violation of Indigenous land rights. United Nations bodies have also spoken out regarding the CGL. The pipeline goes through the traditional, unceded territories of the Wet’suwet’en First Nations people, and has faced opposition from hereditary chiefs. Construction of the CGL pipeline also involves drilling in bodies of water that are crucial to Indigenous ways of life, directly impacting their primary source of water and food.

Protests have been ongoing across Canada as people stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people.

Raising public awareness has been one of the substantial impacts of the movement so far. Schwein said that there were “threats and aggression” from some of the public present yesterday, but many also signed pledges to switch their banks.

“A lot of people don't actually realize that RBC is funding to destroy the planet and [the] violation of Indigenous sovereignty, so I think it's really good that people are realizing where their money is going and changing that,” he said.

Schwein called for more students to get involved in environmental action. He highlighted the Save Old Growth campaign, which aims to defend old growth forests against logging. Many UBC students also participated in old-growth logging protests at Fairy Creek over the summer.

“We want all the support we can get … In my opinion, if our entire world is getting destroyed, and no one's doing anything about it, there's no such thing as action that's too radical.”

“I think a lot of students and a lot of people our age are really suffering from climate, grief and hopelessness about the climate, which is totally understandable and getting involved in doing something to protect it is a great way of feeling better about that.”