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Meet Sam

Know where your money comes from

Know where your money comes from

In the first of a series of articles about some of our personal customers, we speak to 32 year-old Sam Fitzgerald who is a freelance architectural designer living in North-East London. Sam grew up in Somerset, and spent time living between London and Bristol throughout his twenties developing his craft at a number of architectural practices. His understanding of sustainability has circulated throughout most aspects of his life, but Sam is keen to establish that it’s certainly not all about work…

What do you value most in life?

My spare time. As much as I enjoy my job, I definitely work to live. Like everyone else, I value my leisure time to pursue all of the things I enjoy doing which is unsurprising. I think we have to constantly remind ourselves of this, as it’s easy to let the stresses of life jump in the way – and that really is no way to live.

Since becoming freelance, I’ve been able to have a bit more free time – and different ‘pockets’ of time as opposed to working 9-5. It’s something I’ve appreciated. It’s an entirely new experience to have a couple of free hours on a Tuesday morning for example – and it has encouraged me to take up new interests. I think it’s important to have a decent chunk of time to enjoy every day just to remind yourself that it’s ok to please yourself sometimes.

As I’ve got older, seeing my friends and family has become much more important to me; and I believe those human relationships are what makes life fulfilling.

View from the bottom

View from the bottom

Favourite things and who inspires you?
Working in sustainable architecture, there are plenty of other designers who make a huge impact on me professionally. Designers such as Kengo Kuma and Andre D’Elia. I’m also incredibly inspired by my friends and the people I choose to have around me, and think that they are a great influence. I have fewer friends around me than I used to when I was younger and this is because age has taught me who makes me happy and who inspires to bring the very best out of me.

I love climbing and bouldering; both in Bristol and London there is an ever growing climbing scene which is great. I’ve been lucky to be around some great facilities, and it’s only in the past six years I have taken it up. It’s a very different, and exhilarating sport – but to be honest, anything which keeps you fit, gets your blood pumping and you enjoy is worth doing.

I’ve loved being involved with campaigning matters in the past; and the people who do this on a daily basis are a huge inspiration to me. I’ve volunteered with Campaign Against Climate Change, Stop the Traffik as well as a number of human rights groups and it’s satisfying to spend time with people who are passionate and connected to the cause and learn from them – it’s something I want to do more of in the future.

Sam (left) admits principles before profit was not a consideration in his childhood

Sam (left) admits principles before profit was not a consideration in his childhood

What is the most valuable lesson you think you have learnt?
Professionally, not to be ruled by normal processes, to experiment. This often helps in work processes to realise both my own and clients ideals in exciting and progressive design.

Do what you love to do. If you’re passionate about what you do then work and play time won’t be mutually exclusive.

Can finance be a force for good in the future?
Absolutely, and it’s very important. Taking the triple bottom line framework of social, environmental and financial values, finance is an intrinsic part of this Venn diagram and I’ve applied this to my approach to business too. Finance is just as important as people and the planet, and as an instrument to make the world a better place.

That’s the reason I’ve decided to bank with Triodos; out of all of the other banking options these seemed to be the most aligned with these values, and are committed to keep improving and building on these.

What issue do you really care about?
It might seem obvious to likeminded people, but the dangers of fracking and it’s potentially widespread uses is one of the reasons I swapped my saving account over to Triodos Bank. It’s counter intuitive to place my money with institutions who will support fracking as well as many other fossil fuel dependant industries.

It’s really starting to kick off, and I don’t think much of the public have been fully informed by the Government or mainstream media on the environmental consequences.

Supporting fracking, even on test sites, is distracting energy firms and governments from investing in renewable sources of energy, and encouraging a continued reliance on fossil fuels.

Whilst there are many causes I support, fracking is one which is particularly close to my heart. I have spent time campaigning in Lancashire with Frack Off and would encourage any likeminded people to get involved and support the movement in any way you can.

 

(For more on fracking and fossil fuel divestment, you can read our previous Colour of Money articles Carbon Warrier, Conscious Investment, Fossil Fuel Divestment and Tackling Fracking. If you would like to be involved in ‘Know where your money comes from’, contact christopher.yong@triodos.co.uk)

 

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