“What could go right?” Ursula Crowley, the 398th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, likes to ask herself.

That shift in mindset encourages Ursula to override her risk-averse lawyer’s brain and try things that might deliver novelty, happiness or growth.

Ursula is the founder of Armara Advisory, which provides general counsel and advisory services for ‘green’ businesses that want to raise capital. One of her clients, for example, is producing innovative solar power technology, while another has found a way to promote more efficient land management practices.

Ursula has been involved in the fight against climate change, and for sustainable affordable housing, for the past five years, at both a professional and personal level.

In 2019, she volunteered for the campaign of Zali Steggall, who was challenging the incumbent, former prime minister Tony Abbott, for the seat of Warringah. Ursula was attracted to Steggall’s policies, which she regarded as economically sensible and climate-friendly.

That experience caused Ursula to read more deeply about climate change, and she was dismayed to discover the problem was worse than she thought. That’s because when scientists work together, they generally publish a consensus view, which tends to be the least alarming, according to Ursula.

Many of us are overawed by big problems, either because they’re too hard to understand or seem too large to solve. But Ursula believes all of us can make a difference, if we just take action.

In 2019, Ursula co-founded Zero Emissions Solutions, a not-for-profit group that helps homeowners and businesses install solar power and batteries. She also serves as a non-executive director of Parents for Climate, which advocates for climate action.

While Ursula does not believe the climate change problem will magically solve itself, she is optimistic that Australia and the world will take the steps necessary to avert the worst potential outcomes. And by shifting from fossil fuels to renewables, she says, we’ll also enjoy cheaper power and a cleaner environment.

It’s hard not to like Ursula. She’s smart, thoughtful and proactive. She’s also got a great outlook on life: imagine how much more we’d achieve if we focused on what could go right.