Climate Action Intern – Anis Aqeelah Afrina

Anis Aqeelah Afrina has been using her skills as an actuarial science and finance student to help manage operations at not only Negative but also at our venture studio Acumino. She is a keen student at Te Herenga Waka (Victoria University of Wellington) and a talented musician, playing piano, trumpet & violin. She shares her journey in learning the financial operations of a startup and connecting this to her desire to help the planet.

When the pandemic started, I spent most of my time reading news articles about climate change. It is devastating to know how much environmental destruction had happened in a year (Bushfires in Australia, Typhoon Surigae in the Philippines, etc.). It just hurt knowing that I was unable to contribute anything to save the climate for these past few years. For the 21 years I have lived, my main contribution was recycling. That is why I wanted to join the Climate Action Virtual Internship where its sole focus would be creating a sustainable project. At first, I was quite unsure on how my profession (which is mostly about formulas) will be contributing anything to climate change. Do I have to create a formula that is sustainable? Do I need to take extra courses about sustainability? So many questions were running through my mind and I became quite anxious, thinking I couldn’t bring much impact to my assigned company.

Luckily, I was assigned to Acumino under Sam and Augustine’s supervision. They were kind enough to give us tasks specific to our abilities so we could get the most out of this internship. I was given the task of managing the operations of Acumino, Negative and Saku. At first, I was quite terrified since I had never learnt anything about software yet, but I took this as an opportunity to learn more. I did heaps of research and watched several Youtube videos regarding the software and within a few days, I understood what I was doing! While working on the operations part, I realised that I was capable of making a change. In my role, I track and reconcile all transactions. Through this, I could consult our CEO, Sam, regarding the budget and whether that money is best spent on a more sustainable option or something that would reduce harm to the environment. Although it seems like I’m only working on numbers, the way data is used could bring a great positive impact towards a company’s sustainable practices in the long-term.

Anis is hopeful for the future of the climate space. Her work at Negative has inspired her to do better for the environment. In the future, she’d love to see the earth heal – a reduction in habitat destruction and better conservation for animals. She hopes to see humans live in harmony with the earth through a collective effort with climate action.

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