Is It Time for Your Green Career?

by Rona Fried, Ph.D.

If there’s a silver lining to two years of struggling through a pandemic, it’s that Americans have taken stock of how they make a living.  Millions of people are switching to more fulfilling, better-paying careers, forcing employers to pay more in salary and benefits.  For the first time in many decades, wages and salaries are significantly higher across the board.

Many people are re-imagining how they spend 8 hours a day, and are following their heart by going into environmental work as employees and as entrepreneurs. More and more, people are anxious about climate change and the fate of our forests and fellow species. Taking action is cathartic.

“It feels harder every day to continue life as normal, and go back to just ‘a job’”, explains Heidi Lim, who has completed a transition from software to Carbon Removal. She says she gets weekly requests from friends and their friends asking how they can also switch to a fulfilling career that creates positive change. She provides a thoughtful step by step process that people can take.

Removing Carbon from the atmosphere is a new industry that’s getting lots of well-deserved attention. Because society has waited so long to take significant action to halt climate change, carbon removal is crucial, attracting investors from Bill Gates to Apple and Facebook. We’ve long promoted air capture as a key solution on this website. 300 start-ups are in this space, according to Circular Carbon Network, developing ways to capture carbon and turn it into a resource.

Air Capture equipment

Carbon removal – which includes technologies like air capture to reforestation and improving our soil – is finally getting strong federal support through  the Department of Energy’s (DOE) new “Carbon Negative Shot” program and from significant funds built into the recently passed Infrastructure Bill.

To give you a sense of the transition, as of 3 years ago, DOE’s total spend on carbon removal was a mere $12 million.  Under President Biden and a Democrat majority Congress, hundreds of millions of dollars are going to R&D projects and $3.5 billion from the Infrastructure Bill will create four regional direct air capture hubs.

Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry is struggling to hire back workers laid off at the beginning of the pandemic. Why? Because many of them are switching to renewable energy. According to one survey, 43% of people employed by the fossil industry want out, and over half of them are looking to renewable energy. That’s the future!

DOE’s Communities LEAP (Local Energy Action Program) Pilot addresses this transition. It helps low-income communities transition to clean energy. In New York state, Activate New York is coaching start-up “climate tech” (yes, a new industry!) entrepreneurs. 

It’s a refreshing change from the Trump years, when Climate Denial Was US Policy, and when he stocked DOE, EPA and Department of Interior with oil and coal lobbyists.

Check out our Green Dream Jobs listings to see what kinds of green jobs are available. We’ve been serving you since 1996.
Read LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report
If you’re interested in carbon removal:
The Buzz Around Carbon Removal is Drawing Jobseekers in Droves

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