Posts tagged ‘education’
We had a chat with Tracy Hepler this week, an entrepreneur trying to green LA:
Q1 What are you up to at the moment?
Right now I’m constantly working on growing my baby, yourdailythread.com which is an online community space for green, sustainable and local living in Los Angeles. Our goal is to bring green down to the local level. There are wonderful national and global sites out there right now such as treehugger.com or grist.org, but they usually don’t focus on neighborhood issues. We try to focus on things that you can do in your own back yard, from community gardens to local green events—we sift through all green marketing and green washing to bring our readers the crème de la crème of local green issues.
I have also recently co-founded LYFE (Leading Young Future Entrepreneurs) with Hillary Newman (the Ecowarriorr) and Rachel Hurn-Maloney of Vie Eco Fashion Boutique in Los Angeles. LYFE brings together young entrepreneurs who care about the environment and want to network both professional and socially.
I also do freelance writing/blogging for a few other green/cause oriented sites including the Huffington Post Green, Causecast.org and I’m working on a few more side projects including bringing green to the Latino mainstream.
Q2 Why do you do what you do?
After graduating college, I thought I really wanted to work in the entertainment industry as a writer. I soon realized once in the industry that my calling was to use my skills towards work that would help make the world a better place. As cheesy as that might sound, it is true. I feel that climate change and the environment is possibly the most pressing issue of our time and I want to do everything in my power to bring change and inspire everyone to do everything they can to conquer this problem.
Q3 What keeps you awake at night?
Haha, this is funny because I’m currently on vacation and I can’t be away Your Daily Thread for more than a few hours—that is my baby, if you will, and I am so inspired to see it succeed all the way through.
Q4 You mentioned that you’re doing a summer special with YDT – what tips do you have?
Well I missed the 4th, but our tips are applicable for the rest of summer. If I could suggest one big thing it would be to avoid using disposables. For one hour of picnicking or bbqing your plastic plates and forks will sit in the landfill for hundreds of years. I don’t care how tasty you burgers are—it’s not worth it. Bring your own plates from home or if you need to use a form of disposable, use compostable ones from companies like Earth Shell. They’re made in the USA from old potatoes and other scrapes and can be thrown into the compost bin. If you don’t compost and must throw them away, they won’t take nearly as long to biodegrade. You can view the rest of our green summer bbq tips here.
Q5 If you were a g(r)enie, what would you wish for?
I get three wishes I assume!
1) I’d wish for green to be a major priority across, political, social and all other spectrums. I’m happy with the amount of progress we’ve made in the last few years, but I think we’ve got a lot more to do and a stronger sense of urgency is needed.
2) That every household and business in America used a recycling and composting bin so that we would throw less into our landfills.
3) That we’d return to eating healthy real food. I have been a big fan of Michael Pollan for a while and recently saw Food INC—it’s shocking how much of what we eat really isn’t food. I’d wish for a return to more seasonal organic food that everyone could afford.
For every 50 new resumes registered on our site before September 1, we will fund the education of a child in Madagascar for one year.
At the end of 2008, Bright Green Talent quietly made a donation to a Malagasy school to help put a child through education for one year for every placement we’ve made. And now, we want to more people involved. This month, we’re launching a new campaign to turn our goals into action:
At Bright Green Talent, we’re always looking for ways to spread our social and environmental aims beyond the impact we can make just by placing two, ten or a hundred people into jobs. We recognize the need to ensure that we provide ‘Talent for a Bright Green Future’ at each and every turn – not just in London or San Francisco, but in Africa, Asia, Latin America and beyond. And we believe strongly in “paying it forward” – helping others so that the favor can eventually come back around as we all strive towards meaningful livelihood in a cleaner future.
One of our co-founders, Tom, also founded Blue Ventures, an award-winning organization working in Madagascar, and in light of his experience and the recent political troubles in Madagascar, we were compelled to contribute to creating a sustainable future for these children. Bright Green Talent’s donation provides scholarships to help finance a teacher, food and accommodation for children from surrounding villages so they can study in Andavadoaka (many villages don’t have a school).
As Blue Ventures says, ‘these donations are vital to help educate the next generation of people living and working to protect the surrounding fragile coastal ecosystems in which they rely for their livelihoods. Without these donations many of these children would not receive any formal education.’
Education – both about environmental issues and to promote economic security and development – is key to promoting stewardship of the world’s natural resources. The actions of every single person around the world count.
Why send your resume to us?
Our aim – to collect resumes – is evidently not just about Madagascar: we’re readying ourselves for the wave of green jobs mounting on the horizon, and we want to have a willing green workforce so that we can help companies quickly find the right person to grow out their sustainability initiatives. In the meantime, we’ll continue to provide resources, opportunities, and coaching to help prepare you as those jobs become available. And don’t fear – we never, ever pass on resumes without approval from our candidates.
So by registering your resume with us, you open yourself to new positions without any drawbacks — and you help spread education, knowledge, and stewardship around the world.
Thanks for spreading this note far and wide to help us help people around the world find a more meaningful, sustainable livelihood.
If you’ve already registered with Bright Green Talent, but would like to contribute directly to help these children, please click here.
Last night, Christina and I attended a debate between Carl Pope (Executive Director of the Sierra Club) and Dave O’Reilly (CEO of Chevron). Given scheduling and, I imagine, some dragging of feet from both parties, it took the Commonwealth Club and the Wall Street Journal a full year to get this event organized.
On the bus home, a couple thoughts on the event stayed with me.
First, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I worked with the media team in Sierra Club National Headquarters for a couple semesters while I was in school. One of the first things I learned about pitching a story was, of course, that it has to have a hook. One of the most compelling of these hooks is a “strange bedfellows” story, where two groups that wouldn’t traditionally be lumped together that share a common cause or campaign (such as Sierra Club’s “Blue Green Alliance” with the United Steel Workers or their work with hunters and anglers to preserve wildlife habitat).
Last night’s event had some shade of that type of hook – which is probably why it seemed like half of San Francisco was in attendance. This is not to say in any means that Sierra Club and Chevron are in cahoots – in fact, Sierra Club has long made the oil giant a target of campaigns around environmental justice and destruction. However, at one point in the conversation, Dave O’Reilly (consciously or not) conceded that he believed the coal lobby in Washington was too strong for natural gas to have a real chance of being implemented on a large scale. Carl Pope jumped on the opportunity to invite O’Reilly to join him in DC to take a stand against the coal lobby – and the two men shook on it. I’d guess Sierra Club will try to hold O’Reilly to this promise — which he may not be able to wiggle out of, given that the event was swarming with local and national media and will be broadcast on NPR.
Beyond this potential lobbying duo becoming “strange bedfellows,” I think it symbolizes a larger movement towards cooperation between the large non-profits and environmental lobbies and the companies they’ve long been harshly criticizing. At Sierra Club, this move follows last year’s launch of the “GreenWorks” line with Clorox — another case of unprecedented cooperation and dialogue between big industry and the Club.
For us at Bright Green Talent, this is hugely energizing. We too believe that there’s no longer any way to tackle the world’s environmental problems without everyone’s cooperation – this is, for example, why we’ve chosen to work with Wal-Mart to help them grow their sustainability team. Many of the giant green non-profits – Conservation International, EDF, NRDC – are pursuing similar private-public partnerships.
But don’t worry – we’re not letting Chevron off the hook just for shaking hands with the opposition. Pope also called for Chevron and the other large oil companies to set aside 10% of their profits for 10 years to create a fund that would clean up all the communities and ecosystems that have been devastated by oil development over the past century. And we side with Pope and the Sierra Club as they call for ambitious and significant decreases in carbon emissions (80% reduction from 1990 levels by 2050), rather than allowing industry to hide behind claims that those goals “just aren’t realistic.” We still need people and organizations to stand up for communities who don’t have a voice — such as the protestors who stood up last night to bring awareness to Chevron’s hand in environmental contamination in Ecuador.
Most significantly, where there used to be a thick wall over which each party hurled insults and accusations, there is now a live and potentially constructive, dialogue. Strange bedfellows or not, it’s time to act together and move towards a prosperous low-carbon future.
Want to see it for yourself?
Reuters also picked up the story, with a great exchange:
Pope criticised U.S. energy regulation for not forcing utilities to buy more low-carbon electricity. “Well, if you can get the government to move faster, then good luck,” O’Reilly said.
Pope replied, to applause: “It would help if you would get out of the way.”
Photo from Sierra Club
This is the first of our guest blogging series. If you have thoughts to share on seeking a green job, send a sample piece of 500 words or less to speakout[at]brightgreentalent.com.
Penned by Thomas Ramsson
Having recently graduated with a ‘green’ MSc earlier this year, I had to watch 40% of my office be made redundant in March. I had looked forward to a full-time position with the multi-disciplinary consultancy I worked for during my studies, but instead I was told that the company couldn’t take me on full-time, and they could only extend my existing, part-time contract for one more month.
Instead of being grief stricken, I took comfort in that I had been networking for months, had established strong contacts, and had already been interviewing elsewhere. You see, I had a great boss who forewarned me to get job-hunting a few months earlier.
But it wasn’t just having a nice boss tipping me off that got me job seeking. In hindsight, I did a few things revolving around my thesis that secured me work in green business. So here are my tips to you:
1. Choose a relevant thesis topic; speak to professionals in industry for suggestions.
2. Use the skills employers are looking for in the research (I used whole life cost analysis, cost/benefit analysis, and carbon footprinting).
3. Ask a few companies if you can partner with them for advice in exchange for permission to link your research to their projects (subject to IP restrictions).
At the Interview:
4. Be ready to discuss your thesis topic extensively during interviews (I interviewed for my current job just a week after my viva).
5. Be ready to discuss your motivation for your thesis topic and for a career in the green sector. Better answers than “Prevent global warming” are required.
Instead of being a distraction during your job search, preparing your thesis should be your job search.
Penned by Carolyn
Okay, so the WHOLE WORLD is warming up: polar bears are drowning off their melting icebergs, our kids will never know what a glacier is, and Florida (Disney World!) is going to disappear completely underwater. But these huge issues beg the question: what am I, as an open-minded but admittedly lazy college kid, supposed to do about it?
Luckily, there are a lot of little ways that we can change our habits, without having to chain ourselves to ancient redwoods or eat granola for every meal. Here’s a list of ten easy things you can do this Earth Day to make a little bit of difference- and if enough of us get on board, we might just save a few polar bears along the way.
1. Let’s start easy: turn your lights off when you’re leaving a room for more than 15 minutes. Most college dorms still use incandescent lightbulbs – which have not significantly advanced technologically since they were invented 125 years ago (around the same time as the telegraph and the steam locomotive.) If you don’t want to install CFL bulbs (which are 75% more efficient than traditional incandescents), turn your lights off when you’re not going to be around. During the day, use windows and natural lighting instead of electricity.
Your computer also uses an absurd amount of energy, which you can cut down on by setting your computer to go to sleep automatically during short breaks. And as sweet as those flying toasters might be, don’t use a screen saver: they use almost ten times as much energy as a computer in sleep mode. When you go to sleep, turn your computer off—it is an urban legend propagated by evil tree-haters that turning your computer on and off repeatedly hurts the machine.
2. Bring your own coffee mug.
In 2005, Americans used and discarded 14.4 billion disposable paper cups for hot beverages. If put end-to-end, those cups would circle the earth 55 times. Based on anticipated growth of specialty coffees, that number will grow to 23 billion by 2010- enough to circle the globe 88 times. Plus, those coffee cups are lined with petrochemicals in order to keep them from leaking. Based on hot cup usage in 2005, the petrochemicals used in the manufacture of those cups could have heated 8,300 homes for one year. If you bring your own to-go mug, most places will offer you a 15 or 25 cent discount. Or save that embarrassingly exorbitant $4 you’d spend on a latte, and just make a drink at home before you go.
3. Take a shorter shower.
Every 4 minutes in the shower, you use up 10 gallons of precious fresh water. Plus, heating water accounts for up to 25% of the total energy used in a single-family home – that’s more energy, on average, than is needed to drive a medium-sized car 12,000 miles. Shorten your shower and spend less time standing in all that gross fungi. Or, alternatively, shower with a friend – more good incentive to economize.
4. Only do your laundry when you have a full load (as if you needed encouragement on this one).
It takes 40 gallons of water to do an average load of laundry with a top-loading washing machine, and 86% of energy consumed by washing goes into heating the water. How to cut down? Wash only your really disgustingly dirty clothes in hot water. Most clothes can safely be washed in cold, and this alone could eliminate up to 1,600 pounds of yearly CO2 emissions in the average household (just think about how much more a dorm emits). As for the dryer, the lint filter on your dryer can decrease the energy used per load by up to 30 percent, so make sure to clean it before you start a load. Finally, you have an excuse for your girlfriend for why you haven’t done your laundry in a month.
5. Unplug stuff.
Think about how many things are plugged in but not in use in your room right now: speakers, printer, computer, lights, hairdryers, cell phone chargers, your new Wii… “Vampire power” (as us eco-alarmists like to call it) is actually draining a lot of energy and money without you ever noticing. Cost estimates for this wasted electricity range from $1 billion to $3.5 billion annually. The biggest energy wasters are audio equipment, DVD players, and cordless phones. If you use a power strip, it’s easy to fight back—just switch off the strip when you’re not using it. And when you’re not using your fridge (i.e., when it contains only half-eaten sandwiches you bought three months ago), unplug it, and you’ll also save yourself from that annoying buzzing sound it always makes when you’re trying to fall asleep.
6. Print double-sided, or on old scrap paper.
Here’s the whirlwind of statistics:
Over 40% of the world wood harvest ends up as paper. Last year, the United States threw out 20% of all the paper made in the world. One fifth of all the tropical rainforests in the world disappeared between 1960 and 1990. It takes about 31 million BTU’s to make a ton of paper: enough energy to power a U.S. home for 2 months. The average cost of a wasted piece of paper is $.06.
Borderline overwhelming, I know. So what can you do to save all those cute jungle monkeys and thousand-year-old trees? When you’re buying printer paper, buy recycled. Set your printer to print double-sided, or feed it scrap paper that you don’t need anymore. And think twice about printing things: are you one of those compulsive hi-lighter kids, or could you just read or store it on your computer instead? Once again, not too hard.
7. The environmentalist broken record: recycle.
It is some poorly-paid environmentalist’s job to come up with statistics like this one: “Did you know that the nearly 50 billion aluminum cans trashed in 2005 could have saved enough energy to power 1.3 million American homes if they had been recycled?” Because aluminum is one of the most energy-intensive industries in the world, each can you toss in the trash wastes as much energy as pouring out half a can of gasoline. A lot of energy and landfill space also goes into plastic, glass, paper, Styrofoam, and cardboard, and these are all widely recycled. Recycling saves 95% of the energy in aluminum production and 60% of the energy needed to make paper.
Recycling is usually located right next to your trash dumpster, or you can cash in by bringing bottles back for the deposit at your local grocery store or dump. Given how much Coke you probably drink, 5 cents a can in returns can add up quickly.
8. Take one trip a week that you’d normally take by car on your bike or walking instead.
Come on, that’s not asking that much. Figuring just a 2.5-mile round trip commute, you riding your bike to class 50 times a year (that’s once a week, or a little more) saves 125 pounds of carbon. Think about it next time you run to the grocery store or the post office. Enjoy the fresh air and the exercise, save money on gas, and spend less time sitting in your dirty dilapidated car.
9. Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water.
First of all, bottled water is ridiculously expensive: you’re paying up to 2,000 times the price of tap water, when often, the water they’re selling you is just tap water. As if that weren’t embarrassing enough, Good Morning America did a blind taste test of snobby bottled water versus tap water in New York City, and tap water solidly beat out all the other varieties for taste. So where are all your crumpled dollars going when you buy bottled? To over-pumping of springs, habitat disturbance, and packaging that, if not recycled, creates a big waste problem. In fact, more than 8 billion gallons of bottled water are consumed annually in the U.S. – that’s 25 billion plastic water bottles, 90% of which get thrown away.
Cheaper, cleaner, easier. No college kid can argue with that.
10. Paper or plastic? Neither, thanks.
Try this for shock factor: the world consumes 1 million plastic bags per minute. Plastic deteriorates, but never fully decomposes – this means it will sit in a landfill forever, taking up space. If the plastic doesn’t end up in the landfills, it becomes a huge litter problem. In every square mile of ocean, there are 1 million pieces of plastic, which cause the deaths of 100,000 marine animals per year, including CUTE BABY SEALS. Plus, plastic is made from fossil fuels, and requires a lot of energy to process.
As for paper, paper bags use high amounts of wood, petroleum, and coal for production and processing. In 1999, U.S. use of 10 billion paper grocery bags resulted in the felling of 14 million trees.
So bring your own bag to the grocery store, or if you’re not buying too much, just carry it out by hand. Not doing so is the equivalent of being a baby-seal-clubber – let’s leave that to the Canadians.
Unfortunately, global warming’s a lot like the pile of dirty laundry in the corner of your closet: if we don’t deal with it now, it’s just going to keep piling up, until the rotting stench is so unbearable that we have to just give up and throw it out. And that’s the catch – we’ve only got one planet to work with, so we’ve got to deal with these issues now. Plus, I tricked you. This list got rid of all your excuses about saving the environment being too hard – it could actually be pretty easy. So get on it: it’s time to clean up our act.
PS: Oh, and one last one: look for a green job! Depending on how many years you’ve been in school, your brain’s worth somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of dollars by this point. Put all that value and know-how to work for the planet!
Penned by Tom
At Bright Green Talent, we’re always concocting new ways to help out our community. We’re not your typical recruiting company — we want to build lasting relationships with both clients and candidates and help you in the years to come as you settle into your green career.
Here are some ways you can engage with us today and tomorrow:
- You’ll be the first to know as new opportunities arise that are relevant to your skill set.
- You’ll receive our monthly newsletter, with advice, information on green career events we’re hosting and/or attending, and up-to-date information on the green job market.
- Sometimes we work on positions that we don’t post on our site – you’ll be eligible for consideration in those special cases.
- As you apply for jobs, we will be your advocate. If you’re qualified for a position, we work hard to get you an interview and negotiate for the best possible compensation package
- If you’re new to the green space, you might be disoriented by all the resources, job boards, and advice swirling around out there. Spend some time with Christina, our Career Coach Extraordinaire, to gain our unique perspective on who’s hiring right now, and create a smart strategy for finding your ideal green job.
- Check out the amazing feedback Christina’s gotten on her coaching so far.
- We offer daily tips, insight and advice from our unique perspective. Find resources for transitioning into a new space, hear what clients are thinking, learn how not to be a jobseeker horror story, and more.
- You spend enough time job-seeking. Why not let the advice come to you once a week?
5. Refer a friend or fellow jobseeker to Bright Green Talent!
- We believe in “paying it forward” — no one gets a job all by themselves. Help out a friend and the good deed will come back around when you’re in need in the future.
- Give the gift of guidance! You can now opt to gift a career coaching session to someone who needs a nudge in the right direction.
- And to speed up those karmic returns on helping a friend find a job, we offer a $750 referral reward if we place someone you recommend for a position.
- There’s a paucity of good information out there for those who want green jobs;
- Strong federal support for green jobs has generated immense interest, but with few jobs available, many job seekers are starting to view this movement as a “shooting star”; and
- Educational institutions are slow to evolve their curriculum to meet our environmental challenges.
Indeed, despite the warm reception we enjoyed on the East coast, the experience was slightly troubling. Nearly everyone I spoke with is just trying to “figure it out” — “it” being green jobs. How do we create them? How do we train people for them? And what will be their impact in the years ahead?
Penned by Christina
Over the coming weeks, I will cover various topics on what you can do to find a job within the sustainability/green job space. I am a graduate of the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise where I completed an MBA and MS in the School of Natural Resources & Environment. Obviously that doesn’t make me an expert on this weighty topic, but having the academic background coupled with the practical experience I get everyday talking to both our clients and candidates (and friends!) hopefully provides me with the perspective to be able to give salient advice to those of you who happen to be looking for it…
Big Picture Impressions
Over the last few months, many job seekers and job “inquire-ers” have asked me for my impressions of when green companies will start hiring and in which specific sectors will the highest demand be. As you might imagine, this is a bit difficult to predict but in my efforts to be helpful, I have tried my darn-dest to do so! For those of you with whom I have not had the pleasure of speaking with, here’s what I CAN tell you:
Realistically, this is a difficult time to be job hunting (be it within the sustainability realm or otherwise) since the economic situation has ensured that there are fewer jobs to be had while the number of people looking is increasing exponentially. Thus, the hard truth is that if you are looking for a job today, you must think long-term as to what you can do right now to better position yourself for that moment in time when the economy does begin to pick up and with it, the sustainability agendas of companies. And here at BGT, we do believe that the first sectors/jobs to feel the uptick will specifically be those operating in the green space.
So. Depending on your current employment situation, it is critical to consider what you can do in the short-term to better position yourself for the long-term. I know that seems vague but in the coming weeks I will attempt to hone in on what that means depending on your current situation and where it is that you are trying to get.
Starting from the Basics
Our first piece of advice is always to be informed — legitimacy is extremely important in the green space, which has battled greenwashing over the past several years. I know there are an overwhelming number of websites out there that provide information and guidance in the sustainability realm so I would like to point out some of our favorites to begin and/or continue your research and networking efforts:
For basic education on topics of the environment and sustainability, this site is often useful (and a personal favorite): gristmill.grist.org/skeptics
Next week I will begin to dissect the sometimes-elusive world of sustainability consulting and provide some thoughts on what you can do to try to get yourself in the door of the firms doing that kind of work. Until then, keep up the good work – we need you all!