But first, some background:
With our laser focus on COVID-19’s cousin – the Delta variant – we may have overlooked the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) report on the climate crisis, with UN Secretary-General António Guterres designating the climate crisis a ‘code-red for humanity’. As a result, there has never been a better time for us to evaluate how our everyday spending and consumption choices affect our planet and the small steps we can take to align our money with our values.
You may be surprised to learn that food waste costs the Australian economy $20 billion each year, producing over 500,000 tonnes of CO2. Bring Me Home is an app and food technology company dedicated to connecting customers across Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales with their favourite restaurants, cafes and food venues looking to reduce their food waste. In doing so, Bring Me Home offers unsold food at affordable prices, helping to alleviate the burden of food insecurity for those in need. Over the past three years, Bring Me Home’s 10,000 users have rescued almost 6 tonnes of food and reduced 11 tonnes of atmospheric CO2!
If you’re looking to transition more gradually towards a greener lifestyle, you could consider downloading One Small Step, an app and social enterprise that draws on behavioural science to help you develop environmentally-conscious habits. The app prepares a program tailored to your carbon footprint and your living circumstances, like your income and number of people you live with. The app hit 8,000 downloads in May 2021 and aims to reach just shy of 30 million users by incentivising them to reduce their emissions to the United Nations’ 2050 goal of 2 tonnes of CO2 each year. The best part? The app offers a popular green finance program, providing users with an overview of climate conscious superfund and banking options, alongside a step-by-step guide for those looking to make the switch!
Alternatively, consider looking to the great (vertical) outdoors by building your own vertical garden! With almost 70% of the world’s booming population expected to be living in urban areas by 2050, vertical gardens are an innovative and creative way to reduce our apartment building’s carbon footprint by improving surrounding air quality and filtering out CO2. Beyond their aesthetic merits, a vertical garden can be assembled in the smallest indoor and outdoor spaces – essentially, we’re growing stacks of crops upwards, rather than in a single layer over a wider surface as you would typically curate your back garden. A helpful thing to note here is that not all plants are suited to vertical farming – fast-growing, smaller plants such as lettuce, strawberries and herbs might be a useful starting point, especially if you’re looking to build an edible vertical garden. You can find a list of plants best suited to take your greenery to new heights here!
Whether you’re looking to start investing in climate winners or reduce food waste (or both!), there’s no shortage of environmentally conscious choices we can make to fuel our financial futures. A great place is to start is to get the conversation going – speak to a qualified financial advisor about your investment decisions if you’re feeling lost, and share your (ethical) money wins with friends and family.
Angela is one of the founders of vida (VIDA Melbourne), an educational initiative committed to building the next generation of financially confident, capable and courageous young women. The team at vida run engaging and interactive workshops for young women aged 14-25 across local girls’ secondary schools, tertiary institutions and external organisations on all things personal finance. Head to vida’s website to learn more about their mission, or check out their socials filled with bite-sized pieces of money wisdom!
If you liked this article, check out the previous two entries in Angela's Greener Agenda series, from ethically investing your super to switching to an eco-friendly bank.
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