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Degrees: Real talk about planet-saving careers
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Degrees: Real talk about planet-saving careers

Author: Yesh Pavlik Slenk

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Want to use your job to tackle climate change? Today there are more opportunities across industries to find a job and have impact. Join Climate Corps network manager Yesh Pavlik Slenk for candid conversations with everyday changemakers about careers, motivation, how they're fighting climate change — and how you can too.
60 Episodes
Chris Castro joined the City of Orlando as the Director of Sustainability and Resilience in 2016, but his title doesn’t even begin to capture Chris’s drive to fight climate change and environmental injustice. In just a few years, he’s helped start solar co-ops. He’s increased electric vehicle adoption. And he’s helped low-income residents invest in clean energy. Chris believes that greening a city doesn’t just help fight climate change. It also helps communities and families prosper. One of his most exciting initiatives reduces the massive carbon footprint of the food we eat– and also helps feed families. It’s called fleet farming, and it turns front lawns into working farms. Fair warning: Chris is going to completely upend the way that you think about city government forever.
Jeff Kirschner is the founder and CEO of Litterati, the crowdsourcing app that has helped people all over the world clean up more than 6 million pieces of litter to date. Litterati isn't just cleaning up the streets though: the data collected by the app is actually transforming the way some companies do business. Jeff has also transformed his own career, from ad exec and screenwriter to green entrepreneur. He's got a lot of heartfelt insights to offer on how to tackle big problems, how to use data, how to tell the story and bring people on board... and how to navigate the joys and sorrows of a purpose-driven career.
Cynthia Shih is the climate change activist and Director of Knowledge at who’s helping to redefine what recycling means for the 21st century. But you might also know her as touring and recording artist Vienna Teng. Cynthia longed to be making more of a direct, positive impact on the planet, so she ditched the tour bus to tackle a dual Master’s degree, because she’s convinced there’s more than one way to fight climate change. It doesn’t just come from the world of business or from people taking to the streets or from songwriting. Cynthia talks about how being a musician and a management consultant gives her a unique perspective on the world’s problems, the pros and cons of feeling like an outsider and why her colleagues call her the “Cynthia-sizer”.
Boma Brown-West is leading the charge to eliminate toxic chemicals from our food and consumer products. As the Director of Consumer Health at Environmental Defense Fund, her vision is to create a "new normal" where every aisle of every store is safer for every person.
Happy holidays listeners! The Degrees team is taking the week off, but we SO appreciate you that we wanted to gift you a few recommendations: things that have inspired us, fed our souls, stretched our brains, or made us laugh over the course of this strange year. We hope they do the same for you! Stay tuned: December 28 we'll bring you an incredible interview with Bill Weihl, a superstar of sustainability.
Michelle Romero, National Director of Green For All, is bringing together unlikely coalitions to find new solutions for reducing poverty while building a clean-energy economy. She's at the forefront of the environmental justice movement, the mastery of which is now essential for anyone wanting a career in sustainability.
Peggy Shepard, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of WE ACT, tells the story of how the environmental justice movement was born, where its headed and why anyone who wants a career in sustainability should care.
After mastering logistics and delivery as a bike messenger in New York City, Steven Moelk blazed his own trail and found himself in a place he never imagined: as the guy responsible for bringing electric vehicle, zero-emissions delivery to IKEA.
After a meandering career path through more "typical" purpose-driven jobs, Adam Heltzer had an epiphany: the private sector--and in particular the world of finance-- was THE place for him to create lasting change. Once a "nice to have," ESG is quickly becoming an essential, core piece of any leading business. Today, Adam Heltzer is Managing Director and Head of ESG at Ares Management and shares his career journey with us.
Leading the sustainability efforts at Google and Facebook might seem like dream jobs, but for Bill Weihl there were still nights when he couldn't sleep. Acutely aware of the narrowing window to avoid the worst effects of climate change, Bill was haunted by a burning question: how could he create more change, faster? Thus was born "Climate Voice," his new initiative designed to empower employees of any company to be agents of change... particularly around influencing public policy.
Trish Kenlon, founder of Sustainable Career Pathways, lends her expertise on questions like: how do I get that job? What are employers looking for in 2021? What are the trends these days? What can I do today to make progress toward a new job? And: how can it be easier?
Obsessed with the loneliness and longing wrought from the impacts of a changing planet, Pete Muller discusses how he uses his camera to make "the invisible become visible" – and to tell the story of climate change from a human perspective. Correction: we inadvertently identified Glenn & Jill Albrecht as driving 20 miles out of their way to avoid viewing strip mines. This is incorrect; it is John & Denise Lamb who make this drive.
Steph Speirs is right in the middle of one of the most critical challenges of our time: the quest to move our energy economy away from fossil fuels and into systems that are clean, equitable, and renewable. Steph is the CEO and co-founder of Solstice, a dynamic startup that is bringing solar energy to the 80% of Americans who are unable to install solar panels on their roofs. Our conversation with Steph goes way beyond solar energy. Her remarkable career path, from Bubba Gump Shrimp company waitress to serving as the youngest Middle East policy director in the Obama White House to CEO, has given her great insight on everything from engaging audiences to making the business case for diversity, inclusion and social justice.
Degrees: The Trailer

Degrees: The Trailer


Check out the trailer for Degrees: real talk about planet-saving careers. Produced by Environmental Defense Fund and hosted by Yesh Pavlik Slenk, Degrees is part roadmap, part club and part therapy session for anyone who wants a career with purpose.
Trying to break into a sustainability job? Tune in to Land a Green Job 101 —six short episodes with pro tips from GreenBiz, Net Impact and Sustainable Career Pathways to help you find a planet-saving career. Visit our Green Jobs Hub for sustainability job boards, blogs, communities to join, expert tips and more.
Sustainability jobs expert Trish Kenlon asked jobseeker Maya Johnson five key questions to help her narrow down her career choices. Try them! And visit Land a Green Job 101, where we’ve listed tons of planet-saving resources for job hunters, from job listings to expert advice to communities you can join.   1. Which climate-change issue are you passionate about?There are so many issues, it’s hard to know where to start. Whether it’s a field trip to a dump, growing up with toxic air pollution, or watching sea levels rise, consider the issues you feel deeply about. (Not sure? What are you curious about? What worries you? These are clues.) 2. What kind of day-to-day work do you prefer?Which skills do you enjoy using? Do you like sitting at a desk, working alone or with others? Do you love talking with people? Try advocacy and community organizing.Do you like research and writing? Consider environmental policy and grant writing.Love data? You could be well suited to field research or lab work.Gravitate to social media? Investigate marketing and advertising roles in nonprofits, foundations, or sustainable companies.3. What kind of organization do you want to work for?Sustainability careers are now across industries and sectors. You could organize neighbors to grow a community garden; engineer fuel-efficient aircraft or write environmental policy—the list goes on.  Government work: You can work for local, state-level or federal departments. Starting at your mayor's office or parks department is a great way into a public-sector career. For a sense of how innovative public sector work can be, listen to Yesh’s interview with Orlando Sustainability Director Chris Castro. He’s working to make his city the greenest in America.Nonprofit: You can work for local land conservation organizations, statewide clean energy groups, nationwide or global nonprofits influencing sustainability practices on a larger scale. See our Green Jobs Hub for more ideas and links to sustainability job listings.For-profit: Companies need specialists who can help them implement triple-bottom-line policies and practices. It will take new leadership to expand organic farming, bring circularity to fashion and tech companies, and advance renewable energy use.4. Where do you want to live?For federal policy work, D.C. is probably your best bet. Many large nonprofits also influence federal and state policy; headquarters are in many major cities. Of course, working remotely is more and more common.State and county-level environmental agencies are located in cities of every size in all 50 states.You’d rather live quietly? Consider field work, research and conservation, which tend to take you out into nature and more rural areas.5. Which resources do you already have?Organizations where you have worked or volunteered: What did you like about the work? Dislike?Did you enjoy the people and work environment?Friends, classmates and former colleagues:Where are they now? Can they connect you with people in organizations where you want to work? Follow them on LinkedIn.When applying for jobs, these connections are key to getting out of the resume pile and landing an interview.Relevant news sources: Start your day with news sources that cover climate change, such as E&E, Reuters, Politico and Bloomberg. (For more, see our Green Jobs Hub.)By staying current, you’ll be more confident when networking and interviewing for jobs. You’ll also learn about new-to-you organizations you may want to work for.Learn more: Plan your job search strategy with job coach Trish Kenlon:Visit the Sustainable Career Pathways career coaching page.For more of Trish’s job search tips, listen back to How to Land a Sustainability J-O-B!Network with jobseeker Maya Johnson:Learn more about Maya Johnson’s Reach One Book scholarship on Instagram.For links to the many policy and advocacy organizations mentioned in this episode, see our Green Jobs Hub.
Sustainability jobs are growing fast. From industry hot spots to the most-needed skills, Episode 2 is full of insider tips for jobseekers from John Davies of GreenBiz, the go-to hub for the latest in business and sustainability. For all of the guidance and resources mentioned in this episode, visit Land a Green Job 101 online. 1. Which industries are growing planet-saving jobs?After years of sputtering along, sustainability job postings on LinkedIn grew about 10% in 2019. Some roles are part of small corporate sustainability teams. But sustainability skills are needed in more traditional positions as well. Download the GreenBiz State of the Profession report.These jobs are growing across industries:ManufacturingSupply chain managementEnvironmental, Social and Governance (ESG) CompaniesFinanceFashionEnergyTechnologyMedical devicesTransportation2. Which skills are in greatest demand?More and more industries are seeking people who understand circularity. For information about new jobs in the circular economy, read this GreenBiz column.Companies are greening their systems. Skills needed are specific to companies and industries.Industries moving quickly on circularity include medical devices, tech companies, and fashion. For in-depth information, read corporate sustainability reports. Look for their problem areas. Which skills do you have, or can you learn, that can solve these problems? Learn how to build business cases for sustainability:Become a translator between different departments — for example, supply chain, purchasing and manufacturing.Building a business case takes communication, presentation, skill in interpreting and reporting sustainability metrics and collaboration.Be a constant learner. Stay current on new innovations and the latest research in your target industries and organizations.Learn moreFind new sustainability job posts daily. Visit our Green Jobs Hub.For dozens of job boards in energy, sustainability and the nonprofit sector, visit Sustainable Career Pathways. Search for sustainability jobs on LinkedIn. 18 million jobs will result from the Paris Agreement, reports The International Labor Organization. Read more about the growth of the green economy globally. Read the Weinreb Group’s report on the rise of the Chief Sustainability Officer.  Read about how Chipotle and other companies are incentivizing executives to improve ESG goals through financial bonuses. 
John Davies of GreenBiz shares his latest findings on compensation, pay equity and how you can increase your value — and your salary. 1. How does my role impact the salary I earn?Managers in sustainability careers make anywhere from $50,000 to $280,000 a year. The longer you’ve been at your job, the more you make. But what are the other factors?Your responsibilities, particularly the number of people and projects you manage, have an outsized impact on salary. Already working in sustainability but wishing for a bigger paycheck? When people switch organizations, they often do so for a raise. (But don’t overlook your ability to use a job offer to negotiate for better pay where you already work.) When it comes to compensation, most master’s degrees don’t seem to make much of a difference. But in corporate sustainability jobs, having an MBA could. About a third of managers, directors and vice presidents have MBAs. 2.  How diverse are green jobs? How does diversity relate to compensation? The number of women in sustainability leadership roles has increased close to 20 percentage points in every category since 2010.Corporate sustainability jobs have almost achieved gender pay equity. On average, women make a few thousand dollars less than their male counterparts. Increasingly, companies are hiring from outside, not simply promoting from within. This gives organizations access to more people. For organizations that are intentional about it, access to a wider pool of candidates can increase diversity. But the profession has a long way to go. When it comes to racial diversity, the numbers are stark: 77 percent of managers identify as white or Caucasian. To help solve this problem, GreenBiz is launching It’s a nonprofit designed to bring more BIPOC candidates into the profession. 3. A listener asks: “Having a passion for sustainability used to be a unique quality that would get you over that edge for a job, but that’s not so true anymore. How do I show my unique value?” John’s advice:Don’t wait for a sustainability job title to take action. Work within your current role to bring sustainability to your workplace.Identify your organization’s sustainability “problem areas.” What are your ideas for solving them?  Where can you improve circularity? Share your strategies with management and get to work where you are. Then, when you are ready to switch organizations, you’ll be able to show off your real-work outcomes.  Learn more:Stay up-to-date with the latest news in sustainability and business with GreenBiz:Read the latest State of the Profession ReportWatch webcasts on Women in SustainabilityFor more in increasing diversity in green jobs, visit Visit our Green Jobs Hub for job-hunting resources and listings and more links to information about salary and diversity in green careers. 
Sustainability certifications are a minefield. Do you have to spend time and money getting certified? How do you choose? GreenBiz’s John Davies knows which credentials are worth the effort and the cost—and when you don’t need them at all. In this episode, John gives us the scoop on:Gold-standard certifications specific to different industriesHands-on experience through internships, volunteering and other jobs is just as valuable as a certificationYou don’t need an Ivy League degree to get a green job1. Which green certifications do I need to get hired? Entry-level jobs don’t often require certifications. If you need one to do your job, the organization should offer the opportunity to get it as part of your job training. Each industry comes with its own certifications, as do many different roles within industries. You don’t need the entire alphabet soup of certifications. Some gold-standards are the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), GARP in finance (Global Association of Risk Professionals), LEED AP in design and APICS in supply chain management (Association of Supply Chain management).On their own, certifications don’t guarantee a job, a promotion or a salary increase.2. Additional valuable experiences that can give you a leg up Leading the Sustainability Transformation from WholeWorks and GreenBiz is a 10-week simulation of a triple-bottom-line company. (Companies that attend to the triple bottom line attempt to ensure that their activities benefit people, profit and the planet.)EDF’s Climate Corps is a fellowship that offers opportunities to implement practical sustainability solutions in real companies. A listener asks: “Do I need an Ivy League degree to get a leadership role in sustainability?” Not by a long shot! An elite degree is not a prerequisite for a career in sustainability. Many sustainability professionals want to mentor the next generation of purpose-driven workers, no matter their educational background. Your degree doesn’t matter as much as you might think. A critical thinking degree in the humanities is just as relevant to sustainability as is engineering or biochemistry.Learn more:Figure out which certifications are right for you: GreenBiz’ certification how-to guideSustainable Career Pathways’ certification breakdown For links to the policy and advocacy organizations mentioned in this episode, see our Green Jobs Hub. 
For more guidance on making the biggest green job hunting pain points less painful, read on. Keep in mind: An hour spent networking is more valuable than an hour spent applying for jobs you find on the internet.In your resume, focus on the outcomes of your workLearn how broaden your job search by applying specific modifications to your dream jobFor more guidance, visit Net Impact’s Six Steps to Job Search Success.1. How do I write a resume that results in a job interview?Focus on what you’ve accomplished -- big or small -- rather than on your everyday responsibilities. Include specific examples of outcomes, like the number of shares on a social media post or a project getting picked up by the media. Think about numbers, percentages and other metrics.Use these examples to demonstrate the benefits you’ll bring to a new organization or hiring manager. 2. Why can’t I get a job interview?You’re not networking well. Don’t apply blind if you can help it. Find a classmate, former employer, or friend of a friend who is connected to the organization you are applying to.  An hour spent networking is more valuable than an hour spent applying for jobs you find on the internet. You should be networking at least triple the time you spend searching for jobs online. Build a network of people you trust to offer encouragement, hold you accountable, ask you tough questions and serve as sounding boards for practice interviews. 3. There are so many kinds of planet-saving jobs. Where do I fit?Consider which type of workplace is most appealing: nonprofit, government agency, foundation, B Corp (triple-bottom line company), for-profit business (large or small?) or community organization. Traditional roles like accounting and marketing are vital to every organization focused on sustainability. Many traditional for-profit businesses now hire “impact” roles such as sustainability analysts and reporters and policy advocates.4. I want to help save the planet but I don’t know where to start. To begin envisioning your dream job, write it out, draw it, or describe it to a friend. What are the day-to-day tasks? What type of organization? Any specific dream organizations? Are you working in front of a screen or out in the field? Do you want to work on a team or solo?Which parts of your dream job are you willing to modify? For example, would you still be interested if it were for a different company? What if the organization were much smaller than you’ve imagined, or in a rural area rather than a city? Modify the role in a couple of ways and open up your job hunt.Organize a group of friends or classmates to keep you accountable on your job search with Net Impact’s self-guided workshop, Making A Path (MAP). Learn more: Find social impact and sustainability job listings on Net Impact’s Job BoardTransform a traditional resume to a green one with Greenbiz’s Resume GuideOnce you get that interview, practice! Use Net Impact’s interview toolkit to get ready. Visit our Green Jobs Hub for job-hunting resources and listings and more links to information about salary and diversity in green careers. 
Comments (2)

fati karami


Dec 27th

Ali Hassanzadeh

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