Rachael Barnes

International Volunteering Network Developer
Greenpeace International

Bachelor of Science (Physics/Mathematics)
Bachelor of Arts (Environmental Studies/Economics)

Working with environmental and social-justice campaigning organisations has allowed Anna Keenan to defend the environmental rights of local communities all over the world.

When she commenced her studies in Science and Arts at UQ, Anna thought her passion for climate change would lead her to a scientific research position.

But during an internship in her final year of study, she realised just how heavily political and economic factors play into environmental outcomes.

“I realised that no matter how influential as a scientist I might become, it wouldn’t deeply contribute to resolving climate change, unless politics shifts to support solutions that have already been developed,” she says.

Today Anna’s focus is on promoting volunteering as a key part of the democratic process, advancing social and environmental justice

To do this she works with policy writers, lawyers, researchers and the media to raise awareness of climate and energy issues globally.

Currently based in Canada and working as a freelance consultant for campaigning organisations, Anna recently spent 5 years working with Greenpeace International, virtually collaborating on campaigns with colleagues in many countries - Indonesia, Italy, Russia and the US to name just a few. She was one of 3000 Greenpeace staff, supporting a network of 20,000 volunteers.
“The strong scientific grounding that I received at UQ, complemented by economics, environmental history and law in my arts degree, helps me to critically read and understand the different perspectives and biases through which people look at the issue of climate change.”

“It’s very exciting to feel you’ve played a part in informing people’s votes and changing a government policy,” she says.

Anna says her employers are impressed by the diversity of her academic qualifications.

“From the hard sciences, to economics, to environmental social-studies – I like to think the strength of my degrees has been their inter-disciplinary nature.”

“Science was my natural strength in high school, so with UQ’s reputation for strength in science, I knew that UQ’s physics department was the place for me.”

“In my first year, I added an Arts degree to the mix, in order to be able to explore other non-science courses and bring more completeness to my studies.”

During her studies Anna took an internship with a US congressman as part of the ‘Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Programme’, an Australian-American exchange opportunity.

This helped to confirm the future direction of her career and assisted in obtaining her first job with the Australian Conservation Foundation.