Who are the people committed to making ING a fossil free bank? Meet our ‘Humans of ING Fossielvrij’. Today: Laura, our photographer for six years.

“My concern about the climate started from a really young age. My concern as a teenager was not so much about oil and energy, but about waste. I was very frustrated if I saw things on the floor. And I remember that my friends were making fun of me because of that: ‘O look, Laura, there is a paper on the floor, pick it up!’. When I grew up, I got busy with other things. But when I arrived in the Netherlands from France seven years ago, I decided to become more active in the climate movement. Since I am a photographer, I started with Fossil Free Culture. I joined their first protest. That was six years ago. Since then I have documented all their actions and protests, and now I joined the communication group for the ING Fossielvrij campaign.

"Fossil fuel companies are cutting the branch we are all sitting on"

I don’t understand why fossil company management boards and their financiers continue to do what they have always done. These people have families and they are real human beings. They see the damage done by their business and the loss of life. New, alternative paths are being invented every day, and the existing solutions become more and more effective. Many companies are moving in this direction. So why aren’t the fossil fuel companies turning to these sustainable solutions more quickly? And why aren’t the banks either? Their share of sustainability is still ridiculously small compared to their overall business and can in no way counterbalance the violence of new oil and gas projects. 

We are at a turning point and we need to take a long-term view of the impact of our actions as human beings on the environment and on all species. Fossil fuel companies are cutting the branch we are all sitting on.

"If we decide to rise and to stand for things that are good, people can be so powerful"

I definitely think that activism works. Five years ago, ING was a partner in the North Dakota pipeline in the USA, and we did many protests at their headquarters, and we also had meetings with their spokesperson. In the end they chose to step back from the project. If we decide to rise and to stand for things that are good, people can be so powerful. I remember the first climate march I participated in, in Amsterdam. Over 7.500 people marched, and as a photographer I was there to document the crowd from one end to the other. I saw a big crowd with people from different backgrounds, with different daily lives, all marching and chanting together, with one powerful voice. All of us were there because we knew that by standing together we can change policies. This made a big impression on me. We really are fighting to save humanity.”

Would you like to join the ING Fossielvrij campaign, just like Laura? There are groups working on action, communications and research. Read more and sign up here.