Degrees: Real talk about planet-saving careers

Yesh Pavlik Slenk

Want to use your job to make an impact? We go behind the scenes with today's most inspiring changemakers. Yesh has candid conversations with them about careers, motivation, and how they're fighting climate change — and how you can too.

Introducing Degrees Season 3
Trailer 2 min 53 sec

All Episodes

Women have been the main drivers of sustainable finance, or investing with environmental, social and governance (ESG) values in mind. After years of slow growth, sustainable investing is showing dramatic financial returns. According to Moody's, “In 2020, ESG products saw strong returns and investment outperformance that marked it as a watershed year.”And yet the mostly male leaders in the world of finance continue to discount sustainable investing, or give it lip service. So says Taeun Kwon. And she’s sick of it. To combat the problem, Kwon and two cofounders created Women in Sustainable Finance (WISF). The organization educates women on sustainable finance and empowers them to have a positive impact. WISF offers mentoring, coaching, and courses on ESG strategy and communication. Kwon’s path has been anything but straight, as she tells Degrees host Yesh Pavlik Slenk in a lively conversation that follows her journey as a failed collegiate entrepreneur to the heights of global sustainable finance. Resources mentioned in this episode:Website: Women in Sustainable FinanceGreenbuzz: GreenbuzzAdditional Resources:Moodys: ESG Investing a Boon for Asset ManagersFortune: Women lead in responsible financing. Now men want in. Moody’s: Moody’s ESG SolutionsFollow Taeun Kwon and Women In Sustainable Finance (WISF):LinkedIn: Taeun KwonTwitter: Women in Sustainable Finance (@wisf_int)Website: Women in Sustainable FinanceFollow EDF:Sign up for the Degrees newsletter!Twitter: EDF (@EnvDefenseFund)Facebook: Environmental Defense FundInstagram: environmental_defense_fundLinkedIn: Environmental Defense Fund

Nov 24

29 min 40 sec

Some people know from an early age that they are environmentalists. Dan Schnitzer certainly did. Inspired by childhood nature walks with his mom, he studied pond water under a microscope. At age 13, he conducted the first of many environmental experiments—for a science fair, he made clean fuel from fruit.After learning about the concept of "poverty traps" in college, Dan realized that lack of energy access is an infrastructure failure—and a massive burden on disadvantaged communities. Approximately two billion people worldwide either don't have energy access or it’s unreliable. Without reliable sources of electricity, people are forced to rely on dirty fuel like charcoal and kerosene to generate power, which are dangerous and expensive. The use of these fuels, particularly indoors, leads to devastating health outcomes, including early death from pneumonia, heart disease, and lung cancer.Dan traveled to Haiti in 2008 and worked with communities to learn more about their energy needs. Within a year, his nonprofit, EarthSpark International, was helping to build a different, more reliable kind of infrastructure called microgrids. That was just the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey. Today, SparkMeter sells software that helps utilities in 25 developing countries provide reliable, affordable electric service in rural areas. SparkMeter recently ranked #1 on Fast Company's 10 Most Innovative Energy Companies of 2021. Dan tells Degrees host Yesh Pavlik Slenk that his mother instilled in him an ethos of gratitude and responsibility. She encouraged him to pursue a career helping other people. He wanted to make sure, though, that his service was actually useful. “There's a long history of development working to help people, but in ways that really didn't go well,” he says. “And as the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”Dan believes everyone should be invested in helping developing nations access clean, reliable, and  affordable energy. “The climate problem is a global problem,” he says. “The emissions that come from Nigeria into the atmosphere are going to have the same effect on climate change as the emissions here.”Resources mentioned in this episode:IFC: The Dirty Footprint of the Broken GridAdditional resources:Fast Company: The 10 Most Innovative Energy Companies in 2021  WHO: Household Air Pollution and HealthNorthwestern University: Poverty TrapGreentech Media: Sparkmeter Closes 12m to Expand From Metering Minigrids to Analyzing Broken GridsResearchgate: Microgrids for Rural Electrification Dan Schnitzer’s 2016 critical review of microgrid practices in rural areas Follow Daniel Schnitzer and SparkMeter:LinkedIn: Daniel Schnitzer, CEO SparkMeterSparkMeter: SparkMeterTwitter: @SparkMeterFollow EDF:Not yet receiving the Degrees newsletter? Join us here! Twitter: EDF (@EnvDefenseFund)Facebook: Environmental Defense FundInstagram: environmental_defense_fundLinkedIn: Environmental Defense Fund

Nov 17

26 min 14 sec

Most people don’t think about running for office when pondering environmental careers. However, California Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia may change your mind.In a state ravaged by air pollution and wildfires, Garcia has crafted policy that fights climate change. Recently, he introduced  AB 1500, which helped inspire the Climate Resilience Bond. This allocates $3.7 billion of the state’s 2021-22 budget toward shoring up disadvantaged communities against “catastrophic wildfire, sea level rise, drought, extreme heat and flooding.” It also provides for infrastructure investments. “The connection here to climate, the drought, the fires . . . is recognizing that we have a serious crisis with mother earth,” Garcia said. “We've got some work to do when it comes to not just building the infrastructure, but the conservation aspect of it is key for the first time.”Garcia hardly followed a traditional “green” education and career path. He took time off after high school, then attended his local community college and completed his bachelor's degree at the University of California Riverside. His journey eventually led him to the Coachella City Council at 27. At 29, he became Coachella’s mayor, the youngest ever elected in that city. In 2014, Garcia became assemblyman. Garcia believes that young people can help save the planet by serving others. “I never thought that going into public service would end up being a career,” he said.  “When I came to realize that it is something that one can do to contribute to the betterment . . . of conditions in our communities, I kind of got married to the idea. I’ve been doing it since.”Resources included in this episode: Budget Summary A breakdown of how the Climate Resilience Bond will be used. Climate Candidates: To help people who want to run for officeAdditional Information:Sierra Club:  The Great Western Drought, Explained New solutions are required for water droughts caused by climate  Bill Text AB 1500 Safe Drinking Water... Details of the Safe Drinking Water, Wildfire Prevention, Drought Preparation, Flood Protection, Extreme Heat Mitigation, and Workforce Development Bond Act of 2022 that Garcia introduced February 19, 2021.Desert Sun: Eduardo Garcia Continues Momentum in Assembly  2015 profile of Garcia’s work in the CA Assembly.Follow Eduardo Garcia:Official Website: Eduardo Garcia Official WebsiteFacebook: Assemblymember Eduardo GarciaFollow EDF:Sign up for the new Degrees newsletter!Twitter: EDF (@EnvDefenseFund)Facebook: Environmental Defense FundInstagram: environmental_defense_fundLinkedIn: Environmental Defense Fund

Nov 10

28 min 12 sec

The clothing retail industry is not known for being climate friendly. The textile industry, as a whole,  emits 1.2 billion tons of carbon and uses five trillion liters of water per year.Dawnielle Tellez, an EDF Climate Corps alum, is candid and thoughtful about the challenges of making the outdoor apparel industry more sustainable. “What's been tough for me to realize is that at the end of the day, the outdoor industry and broadly apparel industry is reliant on fossil fuels,” she  tells Yesh Pavlik Slenk. She finds reasons for hope, though. Tellez says the circular economy, the adoption of lower carbon materials, and scaling decarbonization are exciting, emerging ways the apparel industry will be reducing negative environmental impacts going forward.  Tellez advises people looking to get into sustainability careers to set goals, ask for informational interviews, and explore the kinds of degrees she and other sustainability specialists have pursued. “The space is just wide open right now,” she says. “I feel like you can really carve out whatever it is that you want.”Tellez fights social challenges as well as climate change—particularly the historical exclusion of marginalized groups from outdoor activities.  She hopes to see them become more visible and included in the outdoor imagination—some of which is modeled by high-profile outdoor apparel companies like REI.“Looking to groups that are bringing access and knowledge of sport, [such as] Black Girls Run, Outdoor Afro, Latino Outdoors, organizations that are doing incredible work to build community amongst different BIPOC groups is, I think, hugely valuable to how we're going to be able to make the outdoors actually accessible for all people going forward.”Resources mentioned in this episode:REI: A Sustainable Future, REI’s blog about their sustainability initiativesGRID Alternatives: GRID Alternatives. Dawnielle worked for this nonprofit, which provides affordable solar panels to low-income communities.EDF: Climate CorpsGreenBiz: The 2021 GreenBiz 30 Under 30Black Girls Run:Black Girls Run. Outdoor Afro: Outdoor AfroLatino Outdoors: Latino OutdoorsAdditional information: EDF’s Supply Chain Solution CenterREI’s 2020 Impact Report (its corporate sustainability report) Nature: The price of fast fashionWorld Resources Institute: Apparel Industry's Environmental Impact in 6 GraphicsUSC Diving: USC Dornsife Scientific Diving, Dawnielle’s 2012 blog post about scientific diving at USCFollow EDF:Not yet receiving the Degrees newsletter? Join us here! Twitter: EDF (@EnvDefenseFund)Facebook: Environmental Defense FundInstagram: environmental_defense_fundLinkedIn: Environmental Defense Fund

Nov 3

28 min 26 sec

LaUra Schmidt co-founded the non-profit Good Grief Network in 2016 with her wife, Aimee Lewis-Reau, to provide a space to help people cope with climate anxiety. Passionate about saving endangered species and panic-stricken about the climate emergency, LaUra had been suffering from her own climate grief and impotence. A childhood trauma survivor, LaUra had found solace in Adult Children of Alcoholics. So she took that group’s 12-step model (an offshoot of AA) and developed a 10-step program for others like her. Today, it’s helped more than 2,500 climate anxiety sufferers from more than 14 countries—and growing.  Schmidt describes the despair of climate anxiety as “when we wake up to how severe the climate crisis is, paralleled with our social injustice issues... our ecosite issues and our habitat destruction issues.” That wake-up call can make anyone question themselves, she says: “It really takes on a personal blend of, ‘ What can I possibly do?’” The Good Grief Network arrived right on time. A recent study published in the medical journal The Lancet found that of 10,000 young people, ages 16 to 25, in 10 countries, 84% are worried about the climate. The same study found more than 50% feel sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless and guilty about climate change.Forty-five percent said climate anxiety was affecting their ability to function in daily life.The authors wrote that this stress threatens the health and well-being of young people and there is an “urgent need” for an increase in research and governmental response to this critical issue.  Since its founding, The Good Grief Network has served more than 2,500 participants in more than 14 countries. Schmidt, who describes herself as a “truth-seeker, cultural critic, grief-worker, and the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor” hopes to help others around the world develop the resiliency and skill set to create change.Resources mentioned in this episode: IPCC: AR6 Climate Change 2021The Lancet: Young People's Voices on Climate Anxiety and Government Betrayal, and Moral Injury: A Global PhenomenonAdditional Information:Today: Climate Anxiety is Real: How to Cope When it Feels Like the World is Burning  Results of the first large-scale, global peer-reviewed study on climate anxiety in children and young adults was published in the scientific journal The Lancet on Tuesday, September 14.Gizmodo: The Kids Are Not Alright  In what Gizmodo called “rare candor” by scientists, the authors said that they had hoped for significant results. But they added, “We wish that these results had not been quite so devastating.”Washington Post: Climate disasters will strain our mental health system. It’s time to adaptThe Atlantic: A World Without ChildrenFollow Good Grief Network: LinkedIn: laUra schmidtWebsite: Good Grief NetworkTwitter: Good Grief Network (@GoodGriefNetwk)Instagram: Good Grief Network (@goodgriefnetwork)Follow EDF:Not yet receiving the Degrees newsletter? Join us here! Twitter: EDF (@EnvDefenseFund)Facebook: Environmental Defense FundInstagram: environmental_defense_fundLinkedIn: Environmental Defense Fund

Oct 27

28 min 25 sec

BJ Johnson is in a hurry—and for good reason. He’s frustrated by the slow pace of change to address the climate crisis. And he’s angry about how air particle pollution endangers everyone, but especially marginalized groups. Black, brown, and poor communities are especially plagued by harmful health outcomes—like asthma, COPD and other lung diseases—from environmental pollutants. Regardless of their state or income, Black residents are exposed to 26% higher levels of soot from heavy-duty diesel trucks than the national average. Once exposed, they are then at a three times higher risk of dying.BJ won’t settle for it taking another two decades to solve the problem. As he tells host Yesh Pavlik Slenk, “This notion of, oh, well it's okay, that five-year-olds in L.A. today have asthma because we'll have electric school buses in 2040—we need to reject that type of thinking and start asking, no—why can't we start making this better today?”Which is exactly what he’s trying to do. BJ talks with Yesh about how he and ClearFlame cofounder Julie Blumreiter are working to transform the dirty fossil-fuel-based trucking industry into a clean one, affordably. Now.But that’s not all—the two founders are also fighting for more diversity, inclusion and equity in academia and in the world of high-tech startups. Johnson is one of a small handful of Black academics who have earned doctorates in engineering. Sadly, that’s not surprising: women and Black people (both men and women) remain underrepresented in STEM degrees and careers, according to the Pew Research Center. Black people are especially underrepresented in engineering, where they make up only 5% of all groups in that field, despite being 11% of the workforce. Blumreiter and Johnson, who is half-Black, call for an end to this inequity. Writing in an open letter on their website, they reference their own experiences as being “consistently underestimated” because of their identities. In their letter, they call for acknowledgment that solving the world’s problems must come from “a diverse range of thought-leaders.”Additional Information:Grist: Grist 50 2021  ClearFlame was named one of Grist’s top 50 “fixers” of issues surrounding climate change in 2021.Techcrunch: ClearFlame Engine Technologies takes aim at cleaning up diesel enginesOEM Off-Highway: ClearFlame Receives DOE Grant to Support R&D of Clean Engine TechnologyNew York Times: Biden Tightens Emissions RulesPew Research Center: STEM Jobs See Uneven Progress in Increasing Gender, Racial and Ethnic DiversityAmerican Lung Association: BJ Johnson and ClearFlame Engine Technologies: Twitter: Clear Flame Engine Technologies (@ClearFlameEng)LinkedIn: BJ JohnsonCompany website: ClearFlame Engine TechnologiesFollow EDF:Not yet receiving the Degrees newsletter? Join us here! Twitter: EDF (@EnvDefenseFund)Facebook: Environmental Defense FundInstagram: environmental_defense_fundLinkedIn: Environmental Defense Fund(1)

Oct 20

26 min 22 sec

Brooklyn-based Lake Street Dive is Yesh’s favorite band ever! She was so excited to talk to them about her most passionate subject, climate change, and to find out that they care about saving the world (especially for future generations) as much as she does.Most people don’t think about how their favorite bands contribute to healing our planet. According to a study published in the academic journal Popular Music in 2019, five Scottish touring bands collectively created 19,314 kg (approx. 21 tons) of carbon emissions between the months of April and September. The average yearly carbon emissions per person globally, according to The Nature Conservancy, is four tons.Lake Street Dive strives to make a difference. Drummer Mike Calabrese, a passionate environmentalist, has taken the lead in educating his fellow band members about climate change and inspiring them to take action. At their shows, they’ve created a culture of environmentalism by allowing only reusable water bottles and utensils—and of course by recycling. They have also partnered with Cool Effect, a carbon offsetting non-profit, to support environmental efforts that help underserved communities around the world. One beneficiary is the Los Santos Wind Power Project, which intends to provide clean energy to 50,000 people in the Los Santos region of Costa Rica. Their latest album, Obviously, includes the song “Making Do” about the effects of global warming on the lives of young people. Calabrese and lead singer Rachael Price discuss their experiences as an eco-conscious touring band, including their politics in their art, and how people can overcome their fears about our changing world in order to make it better for everyone. Resources mentioned in this episode:IPCC: AR6 Climate Change 2021Additional Resources:Cambridge: Do music festivals communities address environmental sustainability and how? A Scottish case studyThe Nature Conservancy: Calculate Your Carbon FootprintCool Effect: Lake Street Dive (Info about Lake Street Dive’s collaboration with carbon offset nonprofit Cool Effect)Ladygunn: Lake Street Dive is "Obviously" Making Do (Rachael Price talks with about the album Obviously)Spotify: Mother Earth Podcast  (Mike Calabrese discusses his environmentalism)FDA: Food loss and waste in the U.S.  (In the U.S., food waste is approx. 30-40% of the food supply)Follow Lake Street Dive:Facebook: Official Lake Street Dive FacebookTwitter: Lake Street Dive (@lakestreetdive)Instagram: @lakestreetdiveWebsite: Lake Street Dive OfficialFollow EDF:Sign up for the new Degrees newsletter!Twitter: EDF (@EnvDefenseFund)Facebook: Environmental Defense FundInstagram: environmental_defense_fundLinkedIn: Environmental Defense Fund

Oct 13

31 min 56 sec

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Oct 6

2 min 53 sec

Networking takes work. Sam Charner offers specific advice to help you become a more effective networker, no matter whether you’re a student, a new jobseeker, or a career changer. Don’t just sign up for a networking group. Get involved.Don’t just sign up and read the occasional newsletter. Participate in virtual and in-person events. Volunteer to help organize the next event.Join small projects and committees to get to know a small group of people on a deeper level. Ask members to recommend job boards, events and additional networking groups and professional associations. Don’t go into every interaction thinking, “How is this person going to help me get a job?” Build relationships. How do I choose a professional community (or more than one)? Identity-specific communities can be wonderful support systems. Examples include communities for women, veterans, and people who identify as BIPOC and/or LGBTQ. Joining geographic-specific communities helps you meet other local and regional planet savers, and also people who live where you want to move. There are sustainability-minded groups all over the globe, in neighborhoods, universities, cities and towns, states and provinces. To learn more about your desired field or profession and make connections within it, join industry groups like those for wind energy, agriculture, transit and urban planning, packaging, supply chains and more. What else should I consider before joining?Make sure the topics important to the organization are also important to you. You can’t join every organization, so pick the ones you’re truly curious about. What does it cost to join? If it’s expensive, this community may be more interested in recruiting experts and seasoned professionals with extensive experience than newbies. If you’re not ready for that commitment, keep looking. Word of mouth counts. Know a member of the community you’re thinking about? Ask them what it's like — and if they think it’s worth it.Learn more:Join your local Net Impact chapter (or start one)! There are more than 400 chapters in over 40 countries.Peruse more than 40 networks to join on Sustainable Career Pathways.Register for Net Impact’s Regenerative Economy series of events, connection and conversation. To make the most of your new relationships, read Net Impact’s guide to perfecting the informational interview.

Aug 21

12 min 7 sec

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. 

Aug 20

10 min 13 sec

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. 

Aug 19

10 min 53 sec

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. 

Aug 18

8 min 4 sec

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. 

Aug 17

12 min 14 sec

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.

Aug 16

18 min 54 sec

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.

Aug 16

2 min 24 sec

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.

Aug 1

2 min

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.

Mar 1

38 min 54 sec

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.

Feb 22

40 min 35 sec

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?

Feb 15

28 min 43 sec

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.

Feb 8

19 min 41 sec

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.

Feb 1

39 min 39 sec

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.

Jan 25

33 min 37 sec

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.

Jan 18

26 min 25 sec

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.

Jan 11

30 min 47 sec

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.

Dec 2020

6 min 45 sec

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.

Dec 2020

27 min 48 sec

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”.

Dec 2020

34 min 10 sec

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.

Nov 2020

29 min 40 sec

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.

Nov 2020

26 min 22 sec