Cohort 3 BGF-er and BGF Alumni Kristi shares what she has been up to since graduating from the BGF programme and explains why she thinks young people should take control of their money in defence of the environment:
What will our planet look like by the time I’m 40? Why does it feel like we’re so slow to respond to the escalating ecological crisis? How can I contribute towards a greener future? It was questions like these that spurred me to sign up for BGF. Since the programme finished I’ve mainly been working at the Ecology Building Society. Even though my work isn’t massively linked to the environment, I’m glad that I’m working in an organisation that supports my values! One aspect of BGF is the 5-day work placement, and it is this element that helped me to land my full-time role here.
Image courtesy of Ecology Building Society.
So, what’s the relevance of a building society like Ecology to a ‘generation Z-er’ like me? Although there’s been a huge surge in young people’s passion to build an ethical and sustainable future, it seems to me that many young people don’t consider the role that our money can play in doing this.
As a young person, I understand that saving money can be difficult and that it’s not always easy to use our money to support sustainable and ethical causes. For example, I find that many sustainable products are more expensive than disposable or less eco-friendly alternatives. This can lead to us feeling frustrated because we wish that we had more money to enable us to make more ethical choices.
However, it’s important to remember that we can make a huge impact without spending any money at all. For example, we can consciously make the decision to buy less, repair what we’ve already got and campaign for systems change so that the environmental cost of something is more accurately reflected in its pricing. Plus, it’s not just how we spend our money, but how we save it, too. That’s where organisations like Ecology can help.
With over a million young people across the world attending climate strikes every month, I am confident that as a generation we are passionate about making change happen. That’s why I want to encourage young people to give more thought to where they save their money, so that we know it’s positively impacting on the planet. Don’t just save wherever your friends and family do; take a hard look at the institution that you’re thinking of opening an account with and decide whether the things that they invest in – the things that your savings will be supporting – reflect the world that you want to live in. After all, this is our future and we can invest our money to make a positive change!
Outside of my main role at work I have also set up crisp packet and chocolate wrapper recycling schemes at work in order to prevent the waste from going to landfill. I’m also currently working on making the tuck shop more sustainable in order to align with the company values. As well as this, we're allowed a few days volunteering, and as part of this I spent a few hours cleaning up the local area!
Kristi features in our newly released Bright Green Future video, and speaks about landing a role following her BGF work placement. Check it out here:
Other than working, I’ve been looking at training courses for life coaching, which is what I’m hoping to do after my contract ends.
I’m so grateful for being part of BGF, it helped me to understand that I didn’t want to go down the traditional route of going to university and it also helped me to find an alternative career path. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for BGF so thank you :)