10 Job Pathways in the Climate field: Careers you can pursue that create impact

Alex Horton2022-08-11

10 career pathways you can pursue to create an impactful career. Be inspired by those that have walked before you!

If you're like me, you've been feeling overwhelmed and hopeless about the climate crisis. The news is depressing and it often feels like there's nothing we can do to make a difference. But I want to remind you that there are lots of ways to help – and one of them is by choosing a career that focuses on solving the climate crisis. Here are 10 new jobs in the climate movement that might interest you.

1. Green policy analyst

A green policy analyst researches and writes about environmental policies that could help mitigate the effects of climate change. A well-known green policy analyst is Amory Lovins. Nicknamed the "Einstein of energy efficiency", Lovins has worked on energy and environmental issues for over 40 years. He is the co-founder and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a non-profit think tank that works to promote sustainable energy solutions. Lovins has advised governments and businesses around the world on how to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and increase their use of renewable energy. He is a widely respected authority on green policy, and his work has helped to shape environmental policy in the United States and other countries.

2. Climate change communications specialist

A climate change communications specialist helps to raise awareness about the issue of climate change and the need to take action to mitigate its effects. They may work for a government agency, non-profit organization, or private company. Their work may involve creating and disseminating educational materials, conducting outreach activities, and organizing public events. Notable climate change communications specialists include Al Gore and Naomi Klein. These individuals have been effective in raising awareness about climate change and motivating people to take action. Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth is credited with helping to increase public concern about climate change, while Klein's book This Changes Everything is a comprehensive look at the climate crisis and the potential solutions.

3. Carbon pricing consultant

A carbon pricing consultant helps businesses and governments to develop and implement policies that put a price on carbon emissions. This can be done through taxes, cap-and-trade schemes, or other mechanisms. The goal of carbon pricing is to incentivize businesses and individuals to reduce their emissions in order to help mitigate climate change. Notable carbon pricing consultants include environmental economist Nicholas Stern and climate scientist James Hansen. Stern was the lead author of the landmark 2006 report on the economics of climate change, which found that the cost of inaction on climate change would be far greater than the cost of taking action. Hansen is one of the world's leading authorities on climate science, and he has been a vocal advocate for carbon pricing as a way to reduce emissions.

4. Renewable energy project manager

A renewable energy project manager is responsible for developing and overseeing the implementation of renewable energy projects. This may involve working with engineers to design and build solar, wind, or hydroelectric power plants. It may also involve managing the construction of new transmission lines to connect renewable energy sources to the electrical grid. The goal of a renewable energy project manager is to help increase the use of renewable energy and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Notable renewable energy project managers include Jim Rogers, founding chairman of the Institute for Electric Efficiency, and Jigar Shah, co-founder of the carbon management company Carbon War Room. Rogers is credited with helping to make solar power more affordable through his work in developing new financing models for solar projects. Shah has worked to promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency as a way to combat climate change. He has also helped to launch a number of successful clean tech businesses.

5. Sustainable transportation planner

A sustainable transportation planner works to develop and implement plans for reducing reliance on fossil fuels and promoting the use of sustainable transportation options. This may involve working with government officials to create policies that encourage the use of public transit, bicycles, and walking. It may also involve developing educational materials and conducting outreach activities to raise awareness about sustainable transportation options. The goal of a sustainable transportation planner is to help reduce emissions from the transportation sector and improve public health. Notable sustainable transportation planners include Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City, and Robin Chase, co-founder of the car-sharing company Zipcar. Speck's book lays out a blueprint for making cities more walkable, which he argues is essential for reducing dependence on cars and promoting public health. Chase is a leading advocate for sustainable transportation, and her work with Zipcar has helped to reduce emissions from the transportation sector by providing people with an alternative to owning a car.

6. LEED certified architect

A LEED certified architect is responsible for designing buildings that meet the standards set by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. This involves using energy-efficient building materials, incorporating renewable energy sources, and reducing water consumption. LEED certified architects also work to ensure that buildings are designed to reduce waste and promote recycling. The goal of a LEED certified architect is to help create a more sustainable built environment. Notable LEED certified architects include William McDonough, co-founder of the architecture firm William McDonough + Partners, and Bruce Mau, Chief dDesign Officer of the architecture firm Bruce Mau Design. McDonough is a leading advocate for sustainable design, and his work has helped to popularize the use of green building materials and practices. Mau is a leading voice in the field of sustainable design, and his work has helped to raise awareness about the importance of designing environmentally responsible buildings.

7. Sustainable landscape designer

A sustainable landscape designer is responsible for creating landscapes that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. This may involve using native plants that require little water, designing rain gardens to capture stormwater runoff, and creating habitat for wildlife. Sustainable landscape designers also work to reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers and to promote the use of compost and mulch. The goal of a sustainable landscape designer is to create landscapes that are beautiful and functional, while also being environmentally responsible. Notable sustainable landscape designers include Lauren Springer Ogden, co-founder of the landscape design firm Sprout Studio. Springer Ogden is a leading advocate for sustainable landscape design, and her work has helped to popularize the use of native plants and sustainable landscaping practices.

8. Food security expert

A food security expert is responsible for ensuring that people have access to safe and nutritious food. This may involve working with farmers to improve crop yields, working with governments to create policies that encourage the production of healthy food, and conducting research on the impact of climate change on food security. The goal of a food security expert is to help reduce hunger and malnutrition and to ensure that everyone has access to a healthy diet. Notable food security experts include Vandana Shiva, a leading advocate for sustainable agriculture, and Olivier De Schutter, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Shiva is a vocal critic of industrial agriculture, and her work has helped to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable farming practices. De Schutter is a leading expert on food security, and his work has helped to improve access to nutritious food for people around the world.

9. Water conservationist

A water conservationist is responsible for protecting and conserving water resources. This may involve working with businesses to reduce water consumption, working with farmers to implement irrigation practices that minimize water use, and conducting research on the impact of climate change on water resources. The goal of a water conservationist is to help ensure that there is enough clean water for everyone, now and in the future. Notable water conservationists include Peter Gleick, co-founder of the Pacific Institute, and Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. Gleick is a leading expert on water resources, and his work has helped to raise awareness about the importance of water conservation. Barlow is a vocal critic of water privatisation, and her work has helped to improve access to clean water for people around the world.

10. Environmental Educator

An environmental educator is responsible for teaching people about the environment and how to protect it. This may involve working with schools to develop environmental education programs, working with community groups to organize educational events, and conducting research on effective ways to communicate environmental information. The goal of an environmental educator is to help people understand the importance of preserving the environment and to empower them to make sustainable choices in their everyday lives. Notable environmental educators include Bill McKibben, founder of the environmental organization 350.org, and Lester Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute. McKibben is a leading voice in the fight against climate change, and his work has helped to raise awareness about the need for urgent action to protect the environment. Brown is a leading expert on sustainable development, and his work has helped to promote the use of renewable energy and other sustainable practices.

What next for me?

These are just a few of the many new jobs that are being created in the fight against climate change. So if you're feeling discouraged, remember that there are opportunities to make a difference. And who knows – maybe one of these new careers is the perfect fit for you.

There are many things you can do to transition into a more sustainability-focused career. You can start by taking courses or earning a degree in a related field, such as environmental science, sustainable development, or renewable energy. You can also volunteer with or work for organizations that focus on sustainability issues. Additionally, you can try to incorporate sustainable practices into your everyday life, such as recycling, composting, and using energy-efficient appliances. Finally, you can spread the word about the importance of sustainability to your friends, family, and community. By taking these steps, you can make a difference in the fight for a more sustainable future. You can also check out our upcoming workshop below!

Start by becoming a climate advocate in your workplace!

If you want to learn how you can start taking more action on climate in your current role, come to our workshop where we will upskill you to be able to take action the very next day!

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