Many of us grow up thinking we’d like to change the world. Even in the earliest, most bright-eyed, optimistic days of childhood, we can identify something we’d like to see done bigger. Done bolder. Done better.
As we start acquiring and saving our first few coins, we proudly tell anyone who will listen what we’re going to use the money for.
Some of us thought small – we set out to buy something that would make someone in our family or friendship group happy (or maybe you just changed your own world by getting a trinket that made a bright-eyed seven year old smile). Others were a bit more ambitious – if a little unrealistic – proudly declaring they were going to buy a rocket, fly to space, meet the aliens and instigate universal peace.
Whatever your version of using money to change the world was, as you got a little older, the weight of reality likely started to wear you down.
Where do you even start? Can you even make a difference? Will your money make an impact?
People can get frustrated and forlorn when they realise just how much needs to be done.
You can spend precious time obsessively sorting through your household recycling to make sure everything ends up in the right bin, remember to take your reusable bags to the supermarket, turn off the lights when you leave a room, “take three for the sea”, only to turn on the TV and read about another human-made climate catastrophe.
“Does the blue-lid bin even matter?,” you sigh. “Why have I wasted so much guilt on my little actions when it feels like big business simply can’t – or won’t – act?”
It certainly might not feel like it when watching the news and coming to terms with the scale of the issues facing humanity – whether it’s environmental destruction, poverty and inequality, or conflict and catastrophe – but the power to change the world is in your hands.
Something as simple as where you put your money does actually matter – just like seven-year-old you thought.
Don’t forget that banks use the money sitting in your account to lend to big businesses and invest in everything from infrastructure projects to funding fossil fuel giants. So if the scale of the climate crisis worries you, but you feel that you’re too small to do anything about it – you’re wrong (a rare instance where it’s a win to be wrong).
Being customer owned, Bank Australia can balance financial profit and purpose, meaning the money in your bank account funds things like renewable energy transition and incentivising green homes.
In its “How to Change the World in 60 Seconds” campaign, the bank shines a light on its customers, everyday Aussies who know the power of collective and individual action.
They’re all taking steps to create a brighter future for all, whether it’s by reducing the waste created by pianos (who knew that was a thing?) or developing fit-for-purpose surgical solutions for wildlife.
Mike Hendry: Striking a Chord for the Environment
Did you know that in the past decade Australians have thrown out enough pianos to fill the MCG? Not only that, they don’t decompose quickly.
Mike Hendry says he’s “always thought there has to be a more dignified end for such a beautiful instrument”.
Through his business, Pianos Recycled, Mike and his team repurpose unwanted pianos destined for landfill by creating unique furniture, jewellery, and artwork. By extracting new value from these old instruments, Mike’s innovative approach helps reduce waste and honours the craftsmanship and history of these once treasured possessions. With over 250 pianos saved from landfill and hundreds of tonnes of non-decomposable materials repurposed, Pianos Recycled serves as a shining example of the circular economy and sustainability.
Jayneen Sanders: Empowering Children through Storytelling
Jayneen Sanders is an educator and children’s book author. She is on a mission to empower children with a choice and a voice. Utilising the power of storytelling, Jayneen teaches children about body safety, gender equality and emotional intelligence. Through her publishing company, Educate2Empower, she has created over 30 books and resources on these crucial topics. Jayneen’s work is breaking the silence around childhood sexual abuse and educating children on their rights, autonomy and safety.
Kirby Clark: Skating Towards Equality
Kirby Clark is revolutionising the skateboarding community with her organisation, Decks for Change. By hosting events and selling skateboard artwork, Decks for Change raises funds to create safe and inclusive skate parks in areas that lack the infrastructure to build them. To date, the organisation has supported skate park builds in Nepal, Iraqi Kurdistan and Timor-Leste. Kirby’s vision emphasises sustainability and inclusivity, creating welcoming spaces for women and non-binary individuals while giving back to the environment and the community.