Most of us are over ‘fossil fuels’, they really are so last century! But divesting our finances is not always as easy as you’d like. Over the past few years we have taken steady steps to divest from anything that uses and supports fossil fuels, and I’m pleased to report we’re almost there! This year Melbourne’s Sustainable Living Festival is also supporting divesting through it’s ‘Divest at the Fest’ program. We hope you’ve caught some of the sessions, they’ve been really interesting.
So how have we gone about it? Well, we started by implementing energy efficiency strategies, starting with the behavioral (i.e. turn the lights off and get rid of standby power wastage), and moved on to things like upgrading insulation, double glazing and installed solar PV to utilize ‘green power’ on our home and office. It feels good to know that our day to day living and working is minimising our financing the fossil fuel industries and saving us loads of cold hard cash in the process. But that’s not all there is to it!
Finances play a key role because as we all know, money talks, especially when it walks. With that in mind 2 years ago we moved our Superannuation to Australian Ethical Investments to ensure that our money only supports sustainable and environmentally responsible investments (and it’s been doing very nicely thank you)!
More recently, we have moved our bank accounts from one of the big 4, which as anyone who’s tried to do this will know, is no mean feat. Moving mortgages, credit cards and all those online automated systems that pay your rates, phone bills etc for you, can be a time consuming task to set up.
So needless to say it took some months from deciding to move, to actually getting the paperwork in order, sorting out the relevant payments, choosing a mortgage and credit card type and then having it all happen. But now it’s done and all our personal banking is now with bankmecu. And I have to say ‘it feels GREAT’! But not as GREAT as it felt when we posted the ‘we’re closing our accounts’ letter to the ‘big 4 bank that will remain nameless’ to tell them why we moved. I’m hoping it will make them re-evaluate their policies, but doubt it.
Now all we need to do is sort the car fuel out. Travel is minimised already by using public transport, walking and bikes, but sometimes you just have to drive. For this we have a Prius, which we love, but a 100% electric car (a Tesla would be nice) powered by our rooftop solar system would be FANTASTIC! As soon as finances allow, guess what we’ll be trading the Prius in for!
So for those who are looking to divest from supporting from fossil fuels, I hope this helps. As much as we might like to do it all within a week (patience is not my strong point), my tips are these…
- Start with the small and easy things (like energy efficiency measures) and work up
- Take 10 minutes to call your current superannuation company and tell them that you only want to invest in sustainable and environmentally responsible companies, if they can’t do that then move your super to someone who can – this bit’s actually pretty easy but can take a few weeks.
- Move your bank accounts, loans and credit cards to a bank that has the right environmental policies in place, and that actually ‘walks the talk’. Many say they are ‘green’ but most still finance fossil fuel companies. This could take some months.
- Then check for anything else around you that might unwittingly be supporting the fossil fuel industry, and move away from that too.
- But most of all – when you have moved, tell them why you left! Telling the companies why you have moved is critical to influencing change.
And I can tell you – even though we’re not completely there yet, the ‘feel good’ factor is FANTASTIC! So if you haven’t already – do it. Divest for all of our future, it may take some time and effort, but it really is worth it.