In the podcast, Lilly and I discussed what ClimateTech even is, what type of jobs constitute a "climate role," and how to land that dream climate position!
Hey, it's Natalie, I'm going to break it down for you! I recently was a guest on Lilly Tong's incredible podcast, "Make Peas Not Beef." In the podcast, Lilly and I discussed what ClimateTech even is, what type of jobs constitute a "climate role," and how to land that dream climate position!
So to start, let's talk about what inspired me to become "climate concerned." Well, I guess it's more complicated than that — I've always been climate concerned. I grew up fully immersed in the outdoors — hiking, camping, climbing, etc. I truly believe that there's a strong correlation between a connection to nature and an environmental passion. It's an instinct for me to see environmental degradation and immediately — maybe even subconsciously — connect that to my love for the outdoors.
I thought this was a "normal" thing for everyone, however, after accepting an internship at the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter while at university I quickly learned that that was simply my privilege speaking. After having this realization, I committed to learning as much as I possibly could about the complex issues that coincide with climate change — environmental justice, environmental racism, lack of environmental education, racial/cultural/economic divides within adventure sports, etc. The list goes on and on.
More recently, I've transitioned to more of a focus on ClimateTech. This space really prioritizes environmental optimism, something I feel very passionately about. There's so much room for opportunity and growth in ClimateTech and it allows us to have a solutions-oriented mindset.
Due to its recent emergence and rapidly changing landscape, there are countless definitions of ClimateTech. Essentially, any technological service — whether that be software as a service, a web-based tool, a physical satellite, etc. — that works to eliminate/remove, repurpose and/or reduce the harms of carbon emissions can be considered a ClimateTech product. These innovative technologies can be industry-specific or more general. Climate technologies work to decarbonize production, reduce waste, and rewrite the traditional framework of sectors such as industry, transportation, food, buildings, energy, carbon solutions, and climate systems. There are three unique categories within ClimateTech: Greenhouse Gas Mitigation, Climate Adaptation & Resiliency, and Carbon Removal.
When talking about jobs in climate it's so much broader than a solar panel or a wind turbine. I encourage you to think of every job as a "climate role." This is the very basis of ClimateTech — it's all about reinventing the traditional ways that we do everything. With Biden's "aggressive national commitment to electrification" there will be 15 million good-paying American jobs by the end of 2025. So a climate job can be anything from, yes, a wind turbine technician, to a construction engineer, and everything in between.
Let's dive deeper into that construction engineering firm example I just provided. On average, construction emissions account for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world. Engineers can act as the link between the idea and the implementation of green building practices. These engineers are seeing first-hand the problem and the possibility. These engineers, directly and indirectly, have the ability to impact the carbon emissions of these buildings.
If we take this one step further, we can critically examine the embodied carbon that's going into these buildings. Embodied carbon is essentially any CO2 that's emitted in producing materials — these engineers know all about this. These buildings need a heating system, energy source, cement, lighting, glass, etc. There are countless ways to make these buildings more carbon-smart, let's take inventive glass for example. This glass needs to be produced, manufactured, scaled, distributed, sold, and installed. I argue that every step along that process can be a climate job. So, yes, the engineer behind the inventive glass is working in a climate role, but so is the marketing professional, the salesperson, the delivery driver, and the installation technician.
This is the fun part! It's all about putting yourself out there, networking, forming genuine connections, and selling yourself as part of the solution. We've said it time and time again, but applying for jobs is more of an art than it is a science. It's on you to discover your unique value add and sell that as the main reason you'd be a great hire. The beautiful thing about the ClimateTech industry is the sheer fact that we're all working towards the same common goal. The more people we have using their skillset for good, the greater impact we can make.
I encourage you to update your LinkedIn, ensure your cover letter is up to date, and update your resume to have your skills and experience reflect the exact job that you're applying for. Remember, the more you optimize your portfolio and prepare, the more likely it is that a recruiter will reach out to you.
Lastly, and most importantly, you need to network! Networking has been proven to exponentially increase your chances of landing a job. In an industry as niche as ClimateTech, this stat reigns even more true. Join slack communities and hold yourself accountable for introducing yourself to at least three people a month. A simple "coffee chat" can bring an immense amount of value to your job search.
Climate People is a technology recruiting firm dedicated to decarbonizing the economy through placing mission-driven talent into ClimateTech careers. We focus on software, data, product, and user experience recruitment in various sectors. Our team is driven by impact, we're optimistic for the future but realistic that we’re all in a race against time to combat climate change. Delivering hiring solutions quickly is core to our DNA. Whether you’re a hiring manager looking for top talent, an ambitious job seeker looking for your next role, or just want to chat, we have the resources for you. Be sure to head over to climatepeople.com for more information, or reach out to me at email@example.com!
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