- Studied: Honours in Geography
- Now works as: Sustainability Campaign Manager, 100% Renewable Community Campaign
Imagine knowing that you have helped establish a $10 billion fund for renewable energy in Australia. For Lindsay Soutar, the experience has been one of the highlights of her career.
“It was pretty amazing travelling to Canberra last year to submit a report documenting 15,000 conversations with community groups, then finding out a few weeks later that our efforts had helped establish a multibillion-dollar renewable energy fund,” says the former geography honours student who is now the National Campaign Coordinator for the 100% Renewable Community Campaign.
But this highlight is likely to be just one of many in a career that has already seen her start a national campaign for renewable energy and take home the 2011 Environment Minister's Young Environmentalist of the Year Award.
Lindsay’s passion for environmental sustainability started at university where she came to realise “the dependence humans have on the natural world and the need to improve how we manage its resources,” she says.
While at the University of Sydney, she completed Honours then worked at the university’s Australian Mekong Resource Centre in Thailand. A job as State Manager on the Cities for Climate Protection Program followed, in which she assisted councils to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within their operations and community.
At the same time she initiated a volunteer community organisation in her local area – Climate Action Newtown. This ultimately led her to start up her own organization, the 100% Renewable Community Campaign, which seeks to build a groundswell of public support for a renewable energy future.
Although rewarding, Lindsay says that setting up a new organisation can be difficult and “takes commitment - I worked for a year unpaid initially!” But despite the “full-time plus” working conditions, Lindsay loves her job as National Campaign Coordinator, which includes political campaigning and strategy, communications, media and outreach, managing staff and volunteers, training, alliance building and fundraising.
In this role, she is continually challenged by how to fight for a sustainable energy future. “The climate change debate sometimes makes for demoralising work, but it’s also a wonderful challenge to try to make community voices shift the debate on energy when we are up against some of the most powerful vested interests in the world!” she says.
Lindsay also cites her colleagues as a major inspiration for her work. “The people I work with have chosen to given up stable and sometimes very lucrative careers to work on this issue because they think it’s so important. I think that's pretty amazing and I feel very privileged to work with them.”