Sustainable Investing

Switch your bank, green up your retirement account, and save the world.

It’s Green Retirement Month, and I’m finally here to be the bearer of GOOD news.

Speaking of bears, I just got back from an epic girls trip to Banff, Canada, and WE SAW A GRIZZLY BEAR!

His name is Boo and he lives in a ginormous sanctuary. He hunts 50% of his food and is supplemented 50% of it by humans. I learned so much about bears and wildlife and also some very sad facts about how in the Canadian Rockies National Parks “more wildlife is killed by cars and trucks than any other single cause”. So boo cars, but yay Boo the bear ❤️🐻

Here’s a picture of Boo!

Boo the grizzly bear standing in the greenery

Now, back to me being the bearer of good news…

You can get FREE MONEY this entire month! This READ module on sustainable finance is going to link you to a free ultimate guide to sustainable investing, and when you pass the quiz after reading it, you get $100. No joke. The only strings attached to this money are getting educated (wow so this is how college should work).

Fun things aside, this month’s topic — sustainable finance — is really important in the context of the heat waves in various parts of the world and the flooding that’s going on in Pakistan. We can't talk about finance without talking about justice. Climate change is a monster we’ve created, and we are literally investing in it.

It’s time to stop funding the monster and start investing in the world we actually want.

Fight climate change in a way that works for you.

💌 Thinking about sustainability can be overwhelming after a busy workday, so we're here to help. Join over 7,000 other busy people and subscribe to Changeletter, a bite-sized action plan that'll take you 3 minutes or less to read every week.
Headshot of Ash Borkar (a woman with glasses and a cardigan)
"The info is always timely, actionable, and never stale." - Aishwarya Borkar, Change.org
Headshot of Meghan Mehta speaking at Google with a microphone in her hand
"Making social change always felt so overwhelming until I started reading this newsletter." - Meghan Mehta, Google

Sustainable investing can actually save you money

🎯 Action step 1 of 4: READ — Let's start by looking at a few articles together.

Note: This ultimate guide to sustainable investing is written by Carbon Collective, who is our Changeletter sponsor for this year. To be clear, this content is NOT part of our sponsorship agreement — I literally could not find a better guide that answered my questions for free.

The part of CC’s guide I want to highlight is Chapter 2: Why Your Retirement Fund Matters for Solving Climate Change.


First, let’s talk about why this is such an important climate issue. If you want to zoom out and learn about the impacts of your money on the world, you can read either one of these Bill McKibben articles:


Basically, there’s a study that showed that because of the way the top banks invest their money, “If you kept $125,000 in the banking system (your retirement account, or your college savings fund), then that money emitted more carbon than all the other actions of a normal American life combined.”


So, if you care about saving the planet, sustainable investing is a great place to start.


If you’re thinking “well, I care about saving the planet but I don’t want to lose money by investing sustainably”, I have some great news for you, and I’m taking it directly from CC’s ultimate guide.


The amazing truth: sustainable investing may equal smart investing and here’s why:

  1. Fossil fuels have not been a smart investment over the past 30 years. From 1989 to 2021, an S&P 500 divested of energy companies would have outperformed the total S&P 500.
  2. Fossil fuels will not be a smart investment over the next 30 years. Fossil fuels are an industry starting a long decline. Fossil fuels’ hopes of staying relevant rely upon very unproven jumps in technology.
  3. Climate solutions are poised for tremendous growth over the next 30 years. Whether you look bottom-up at how climate solutions, from solar to electric cars, economically outcompete their fossil fuel-dependent competitors, or whether you look top-down at the rates of growth in renewable energy, batteries, electric cars, green hydrogen, and advanced biofuels, we will need to see significant growth between now and 2050 to remain on course to avoid catastrophic warming.

Many of us have the misconception that climate action = making sacrifices. The more progress we make on our climate journeys, the more we realize we’re actually gaining a LOT when we protect our planet, and this is the perfect example.

You don’t have to give anything up today — in fact, you can even get a free hundred bucks when you read the ultimate guide to sustainable investing and pass the quiz!

🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 1 of 4: READ.

Your bank is doing dirty things with your money

🎯 Action step 2 of 4: LISTEN — we'll watch a short video or listen to a podcast to further expand on our topic.

Banks are only as powerful as the people who bank with them.

I’ll say this again.

BANKS ARE ONLY AS POWERFUL AS THE PEOPLE WHO BANK WITH THEM.

Our LISTEN module has two options for which videos you can watch.

I’d recommend watching both of them — the first features people on the frontlines who face the direct impact of banks funding things like oil pipelines, fracking, etc. The second video is a 9-min comprehensive overview of why banking is such a critical issue to tackle and which banks you can put your money in to fund the things you actually want to see in society.

This second video, around the 9 minute mark, features a transparent banking tool that’s co-founded by one of our very own Soapbox Founding Members who has now become one of my best friends so this truly feels like a magical video to share with you all today.

Quick summary of what we learned today:

  • Big banks are pouring $2 BILLION a DAY into funding climate destruction
  • Even when demand for fossil fuels went down during the start of the pandemic, banks increased funding for fossil fuel expansion projects
  • These oil & gas drilling projects affect Indigenous communities and other marginalized communities the most. (A sad thought that crossed my mind today as I paid for groceries with my Chase credit card: I am literally funding the destruction of other human beings… but we can change this)
  • Chase is da worst

One last reminder before we end: it doesn’t have to be all or nothing right away. Taking action on your finances is a BIG DEAL, and I started with just moving a few thousand $ into a savings account that funds community housing. All you have to do is take the first step.

🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 2 of 4: LISTEN.

3 simple ways to use your money to save the world

🎯 Action step 3 of 4: ACT — Now it's time to do something. Let's go!

Without further ado:

  1. Switch your bank!

    You can see the damage your bank is doing with the Rainforest Action Network (RAN)’s report, or, if you’re banking with Chase, you definitely know it’s time to switch. In which case you can use Mighty Deposits to choose a new bank or credit union (USA, can filter on a wide range of values you could care about) and Bank.Green (global). It warms my cold heart to tell you that both the Mighty Deposits and Bank Green founders are Founding Members of the Soapbox membership community 💌

    Pro tip: it’s not all or nothing. You can start (like I did) by putting a few G’s into a savings account and evaluating from there.

  2. Green up your retirement account.

    You already know I have only good things to say about Carbon Collective, our 2022 Changeletter sponsor (no they did not ask me to write them in as an action for this month) but I’ll say it again: they are an excellent partner for all things green retirement.

    They have some amazing bonuses you can redeem just this month. The #1 reason I recommend them is honestly because the big fat “talk to a human” button at the top of their website has saved me so much grief. (And I made a new friend.)

    So if you want to feel better about your life choices, talk to a human at Carbon Collective!

    They can help you switch to a green 401(k) whether that’s individually or through your workplace. 🙌🏾

  3. Treat yo’ self

    I am very serious about you including this as a veritable climate action. This stuff is HARD, it can be isolating, and there’s a lot to learn. We need you here for the long run! So, as soon as you take the first step (which can be as small as simply opening an account with a new bank or scheduling your talk to a human call), reward yourself

    You are absolutely building the world we all deserve to live in. I hope you know that!


Thank you for being here and taking these actions alongside me. It’s really heavy to feel like we have to navigate this alone (we don’t!!) and I can’t wait for what's next.

Treat yo self gif from parks and rec

🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 3 of 4: ACT.

Unpack your money story

Before we go any further, it's time for you to pledge your commitment. It takes less than 30 seconds to pledge and we can bother you about it in a friendly way, so we can hold each other accountable. Pledge here!

🎯 Action step 4 of 4: REFLECT — what can you commit to? What fresh perspectives can we look at?

Earlier, we talked about 3 simple actions: switching your bank, greening up your retirement account, and treating yourself.

Let's unpack the third one a little: it can be hard to treat yourself (or move your money around) if all things money-related make you cringe. I get it. It took me almost a whole year from the time I opened my Carbon Collective account to actually move money into it. Along the way, I discovered this concept of your money story.

Kriselle Gabriel, a Soapbox Member and founder of Empowered in Color, made a worksheet during one of our sustainable finance events that helped us reflect on why money is suuuchh a blocker for many people, and I'm so excited to share it with you.

You can duplicate this worksheet which has a calendar for "money dates" and 9 prompts for you to reflect on.

Here's one: ✨ describe a good money decision you are proud of!

Check out the other prompts and spend some time on it this week. How we think about money is super related to how we decide to invest it (duh) - so if something's stopping you from moving your money around, I have a feeling this worksheet will help.

🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 4 of 4: REFLECT.

Check out our membership community for more resources like free weekly events with social justice experts, sustainable product discounts, pre-written email templates, a social impact job board, and in-person hangouts with new friends. Thanks for taking action with Soapbox Project!

Fight climate change in a way that works for you.

💌 Thinking about sustainability can be overwhelming after a busy workday, so we're here to help. Join over 7,000 other busy people and subscribe to Changeletter, a bite-sized action plan that'll take you 3 minutes or less to read every week.
Headshot of Ash Borkar (a woman with glasses and a cardigan)
"The info is always timely, actionable, and never stale." - Aishwarya Borkar, Change.org
Headshot of Meghan Mehta speaking at Google with a microphone in her hand
"Making social change always felt so overwhelming until I started reading this newsletter." - Meghan Mehta, Google

We're ready when you are.

Get our free bite-sized climate action plans before you go!

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