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"Activating change through collective action for a healthier, sustainable future."

Rae Knopik brings a dynamic blend of passion and expertise to her role at Healthy Futures, where she serves as both Digital Campaigner and Fundraiser. With a career that spans continents and industries, Rae's commitment to environmental sustainability and gender equity is deeply rooted in her experiences—from growing up in Florida amidst environmental challenges to pioneering initiatives in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Rae Knopik smiles into the camera. Image supplied by WIC.

When did you first become concerned about climate change and why?

Growing up in Florida in the 90s and early 2000s, I saw the world around me changing fast. More trash washed up on our beach every day, Red Tide got worse and hurricanes became larger and more frequent. Around 2008, when I was 13, it hit me—this is climate change. Seeing these changes up close made me realise how urgent it was to do something. So, I dove into climate activism, determined to make a difference not just for Florida but for our planet. That's when my journey began, driven by a passion to fight for a safer, healthier future for everyone.

Why are you passionate about the work you do at Healthy Futures?

I'm deeply interested in the intersection of individual and collective action—how each person's efforts contribute to broader change. At Healthy Futures, I'm inspired by the transformative power of fundraising. It's remarkable to witness how small individual contributions quickly amplify into impactful movements overnight. This dynamic underscores the profound impact that collective support can have in shaping a sustainable future.

Tell us about your past work or experience.

My career has spanned diverse roles, currently balancing my part-time roles as Digital Campaigner and Fundraiser at Healthy Futures with my position as Director of Sustainability at GREN. I'm deeply involved in volunteerism, having founded the CBR Gals Network and serving on the board at WIC. My professional journey began in Silicon Valley, where I honed my skills as a business development manager at a prominent ed-tech startup. Working across three continents and in two languages has enriched my perspective and deepened my commitment to driving positive change globally.

Who or what has inspired you?

Right now I'm drawing inspiration from Monty Moran, former co-CEO of Chipotle. His pioneering approach of integrating sustainability into the core operations of an industry, rather than as an add-on, resonates deeply. At Healthy Futures, we apply this principle when advocating for systemic changes, like advocating for all new hospitals in Australia to be built as all-electric. It's about embedding sustainability into the fabric of our advocacy, ensuring lasting impact for healthier communities and environments alike.

Why do you think individuals and local groups taking climate action is so important?

Both individuals and groups must take climate action because of the interconnected nature of macro and micro impacts. What we do on a small scale—like eating a plant-based diet or advocating for local clean energy initiatives—not only directly impacts our immediate surroundings but also contributes to larger systemic changes. These collective actions break down silos and aggregate to create significant shifts in policy, industry norms and societal behaviours.

What’s your vision for the future?

My vision for the future is one where everyone has the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives in a sustainable world. It's a future where governments protect the well-being of people over corporate profit, ensuring fair and equitable treatment for all. I see a society where environmental stewardship is ingrained in every decision and where clean air, clean water and renewable energy are accessible to everyone. In this future, communities thrive in harmony with nature, empowered by resilient systems that prioritise both human flourishing and planetary health.

Something about you we might not know?

Fun fact is every August, you'll find me knee-deep in renovations at our 14th-century Sicilian home. It's a historical gem, once part of a watchtower in the first Norman capital of Sicily. I'm passionate about restoring this slice of my Italian heritage and helping revive the village where it stands.

Keen to volunteer with Healthy Futures? We'd love to hear from you! Visit our volunteer page.

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