Q&A with our sustainability intern Amelia Louden

Amelia Louden joined the IEG team over the summer as our sustainability intern to help work on the creation of our sustainability strategy. We caught up with her to find out a bit more about her career in energy and sustainability, her passion for the environment and what she does to reduce her carbon footprint:

Why does pursuing a career in sustainability interest you?

I’ve always been someone who felt connected to nature, I love being outdoors and enjoy making the most of what our natural world has to offer. You can read in the news how the climate crisis is impacting the environment and I want to help make meaningful change and be a part of the solution.

There is power in connecting with and working within a group of like-minded, ambitious individuals who want to tackle problems and find solutions that shall not only impact this generation but all generations to come – it is this shared direction and passion that drives innovation, which I find both exciting and inspiring.

Sustainability (and the energy sector) is at the forefront of technical and social innovation. A role within this sector can be diverse; ranging from research that informs policy, driving the development of smart technology, renewable energy and green gases, through to helping to develop nature-based offsetting solutions. It’s also a really dynamic industry that requires an interdisciplinary mindset, as well as strong interpersonal and problem-solving skills.

Why are you passionate about helping the environment?

Seeing what has happened in the last few decades in the climate has shocked me, and I know things need to change. I developed a real passion for the sustainability of our environment and climate change mitigation during my degree in Environmental Sciences. I studied climate change projections, sea level rise projections and the direct link between these and complete ecosystem collapse.

Choosing this as my career is one way I hope to make a difference, but I have also made changes in my personal life such as switching to a plant-based diet to reduce my impact on the planet.

I believe passionate people and communities drive change and innovation which is necessary to tackle sustainability problems in our environment.

What do you do to personally minimise your environmental impact?

Within my diet I have chosen to be vegetarian as I am very passionate about home-based cooking and when possible, using local seasonal produce. I’m also working on reducing my dairy consumption, as this has a bigger climate impact than many would imagine. It is not necessary to completely cut things out however, as we need to enjoy life moderation of some food types can reduce your personal carbon footprint considerably.

Getting creative is important. When I was at Uni, I was a member of the veg box society. We partnered with a local farmer, and he provided us with a weekly veg box at a discounted student rate, which we were then able to build into our meals.

I’ve also cut down on single use plastic and I carry a reusable water bottle with me everywhere I go. After completing a range of brand research, I now try to only buy from brands that cut down on plastic and waste.

What are your top tips for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint?

I believe that it’s good to understand your carbon footprint and what it is first before looking at ways to reduce it. Look at everything you can, travel, energy consumption, food miles, the carbon footprint of the goods you buy. It’s good to track what your carbon footprint is, by using this online calculator: https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx, and then comparing it to someone’s who lives in a third world country. I would always say to anyone; don’t be afraid to try new things and to try to push yourself outside of your comfort zone when looking to reduce your footprint.

But remember - balance is also important, you don’t need to be totally vegan to have an impact, but reducing your meat consumption will reduce your personal carbon footprint – so maybe try saving it for special occasions! Small choices do add up and have a big impact, so focus first on little things and they will start to make an impact.