Hi Reddit! We've dedicated our careers to working in climate – we specifically focus on helping more folks start working in climate. We're here to answer your questions about finding a career in climate, what it’s like to work in climate, what challenges and successes we’ve seen in the solutions we’re working on, or anything else you want to ask!

A quick intro:

Janet Matta​ - Hi all! I’m the head of careers at Terra.do (u/terra-do). I focus on helping people land work that matters is my passion, and I have more than 12 years of experience jumpstarting new careers and supporting professionals in making career transitions.Rick

Kempinski – I'm the Fellowship Operations Director for Activate (u/ActivateFellows). I work with Activate Communities to ensure that the fellowship experience is consistent. I've worked on science, technology, and engineering fellowship programs for many organizations, like the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

We’ll be live on the thread from 9-6 pm Pacific time!

Thanks for joining our AMA!

Here's our proof!

EDIT: Thank you SO MUCH, everyone! We really appriciate all your questions and are overjoyed with the participation from your community. It's 6pm, so we are now closing this thread. Thanks again!

Comments: 179 • Responses: 26  • Date: 

Stupid_Reddit_Antics142 karma

Do you have any process to make sure the jobs aren't just corporate greenwashing or co-option leading activists/advocates to useless positions?

terra-do26 karma

This is a great question! We've had some deep debates about this within our company. Reasonable people can have completely different opinions on this problem, so there's no single (or easy) answer.

As a general rule, our starting point is to look for whether the primary business of a company (or the primary goal of a job within a company) has the potential to have a clear positive impact on the climate change crisis we’re in, but even then no one has all the answers.

We lean towards a big-tent/inclusion because we recognize that there is also no perfect climate solution today. Everything is a shade of gray. Given how far along we are in the crisis, our opinion is that we have no option but to try absolutely everything.
Of course, we want people to pick companies and jobs that have the most climate impact possible for their circumstances – we see the best way this can happen is by giving people the information and tools to be able to run their own calculus, rather than us deciding for them. Our learning programs are designed for people to do just that; and we plan to bring as much of that learning as possible into our job board in relevant ways as well.

Calembreloque27 karma

But concretely, what are your metrics for a company to make the cut? Because I can find you a dozen oil&gas companies with vague statements on their websites about "saving our planet through carbon capture" and they may have three people working on that, but in the interim they're still piping gallons of oil and destroying ecosystems. There is zero doubt that the net contribution of a company like that on climate change is overwhelmingly negative. What are the tools you use to gauge a company's actual impact?

terra-do5 karma

I'll answer this question from the perspective of which jobs and companies we list on our job board. (For our learning programs, where there is space for a ton more nuance, we get into much more detail in equipping folks to understand the impact of various types of actors).

Firstly, there is no single metric that captures any company's climate impact (and if there is, all of them are still very negative). There are common-sense principles that we can use, and below are some tangible outcomes we get by using them.

The extremes are easy: e.g., in energy, companies totally focusing on renewables or their supply chain are included; companies focusing on fossil are out.

There's nuance where several renewables companies are now fully owned by and subsidiaries of fossil giants. This is especially true in developing countries. For example, Shell owns Sprng Energy (a solar and wind company) in India. The cost of not including a company like Sprng Energy is excluding a large portion of good climate jobs in some developing countries where conglomerates own everything.

The middle gets even murkier.

We just don't know yet whether jobs on the sustainability team at Walmart are successful at impacting the company's climate impact, but, assuming good intent, they have the potential to do so.

There are also entire classes of companies such as those in carbon offsets or forestry-based carbon credits with impact that swings wildly different ways on a company-by-company basis. Our current take is to assume good intent unless there is ample proof otherwise, and (soon) provide readers with tools right there about the complicated climate impact picture of these companies.

Our principles are outlined here: https://terra.do/climate-jobs/job-board/about-this-board/. Principles don't mean much if you don't see them in practice, and we hope some of the examples above help illustrate them.

We make it super easy for people who visit our board to leave feedback about the climate veracity of jobs and companies on it, and would honestly love hearing from you if you find a job on our board that you think shouldn't belong– just click "Leave feedback about this job."

BlueberryGreen42 karma

What does "working in climate" even mean?

terra-do1 karma

I like to think of working in climate as a bullseye:

In the center is any job in an organization whose existence, as defined by its primary mission or business purpose, has a direct, positive impact on climate change in any major way (emissions mitigation/capture/management, adaptation, biodiversity, ecology). This can be directly tackling a problem; doing research, advocacy, or policy related to a problem; creating funding solutions around a problem; etc.. (This is the majority of the companies and jobs on our board right now).

The next circle is "climate jobs" in non-climate companies/orgs. These are ones where the purpose of the job is to shift the organization's impact on climate change. It can vary from sustainability jobs in a Fortune 100, where the scope is to reduce the company's emissions footprint, to climate/sustainability divisions in adjacent sectors like consulting or finance, where the focus is to help transform industries as a whole, etc.

Finally, (although I'm sure there's more) the next circle is entire divisions of non-climate organizations that are starting to play a driver's seat role in shifting the organization's impact on climate change. Think along the lines of GM's EV division, the energy sourcing groups of RE100 member companies rapidly shifting to 100% renewable energy, the supply chain teams of companies attempting to go more circular, etc.

fishdishly16 karma

Autonomous robotics engineer here, I've got several recently laid off engineers hungry for work and struggling to find it. Any thoughts?

terra-do11 karma

Here are several job board filters that should be useful in kicking off the search:
Elec engineering: https://terra.do/climate-jobs/job-board/?function=eng_electrical
Mech engineering: https://terra.do/climate-jobs/job-board/?function=eng_mechanical
Chem engineering: https://terra.do/climate-jobs/job-board/?function=eng_general&q=chemical
Robotics: https://terra.do/climate-jobs/job-board/?function=eng_general&q=robotics

Networking and coaching are also major factors in a job search– we have engineering-specific fairs coming up that have a lot of networking opportunities:
July 12 | Aug 2 | Aug 16

And several engineering folks on #ODC that would be good folks for people to network with: https://terra.do/opendoor-climate-community/

Oh! And an engineers networking event on July 10th: https://app.terra.do/events/nn1DLxY2UoOOr4llHCpQ

I'm sure Activate has some great resources to add as well!

righteoussurfboards12 karma

Currently, Terra.do doesn’t have a very robust job board as compared with other online job boards. I was excited about it, but on looking at the postings there, I was disappointed with the volume and variety of jobs being advertised as compared with say, climatebase or climatedraft.

How do you guys intend to promote climate jobs and get the market (and your listings) more robust?

terra-do6 karma

We’re attempting to be the most comprehensive "umbrella" for climate jobs – because of this, our board is several factors larger than others, and we haven’t encountered a larger climate job board. We’ve put a lot of attention specifically into volume and verity (by roles, but also to include not just startups and corporate roles, but also NGOs and public sector organizations).
We're always improving our products, so I would love to hear what issues you’ve encountered on volume and variety since we continue to focus on these aspects of the board!

felinelawspecialist11 karma

For those of us interested in making a career shift to work in climate-adjacent roles, what resources can you point us towards to help find jobs?

terra-do4 karma

There are so many resources out there!!
Both Terra.do and Activate have job boards if you’re ready to jump right in (and not just engineering – they run the gambit from marketing and sales, to HR and biz dev).

We also both have learning opportunities (I can talk about them forever, but worth checking them out and chatting to alumni if you’re on the fence).

Terra.do Job Board | Learning for Action
Activate – Job Board | Fellowship

Climatetechcareers.com has a lot of great lists.
We also host weekly job fairs, which are a great way to learn what companies are out there and talk to their recruiters.
Networking and community are both important pieces in most career transitions–
It’s worth checking out MCJ’s slack channel, Terra.do community events, and Work on Climate.
Related, we also just launched something called Open Door Climate, where mentors and professionals working in the industry have opened their calendars to talk to folks who are trying to break into climate. You can book right into their calendars to chat with them and hear what it’s like in climate and how to make the transition.

[deleted]8 karma


terra-do2 karma

Internships are almost always the best first step in entering a new career path out of school. Network with others who currently work in Environmental law to ask about internship opportunities in their offices. You can also utilize the career services center at your university for help identifying internship opportunities. Internships will give you the base knowledge and experience you need to move forward as well as deeper knowledge of what you like to do and how a career path suits you. They also are great for developing important professional relationships and advocates as you move forward in your career.

PM_what_sparks_joy7 karma

What kinds of work exists for business or data analysts who want to pívot into something more climate oriented?

terra-do7 karma

What kinds of work exists for business or data analysts who want to pívot into something more climate oriented?

There's so much work! Here's a quick search on our job board so you can have an idea of what's out there for business and data analysts:



DepartmentOutrageous7 karma

What are the biggest trends you seeing in the climate/environmental job market? Is the focus still very much on carbon emissions or is biodiversity/waste management/etc becoming of greater importance?

terra-do2 karma

On the for-profit side, the focus of the companies is still largely on mitigation, capture, or management of carbon emissions since the path to a for-profit business model is clearer. This applies to all the relevant sectors, such as energy, transportation, etc.

That said, while we don't have the trend info on this, we do have a minority of jobs (>5%, <10%) on our board in the world of conservation & biodiversity. A good portion of these are from non-profits/.orgs. Some notable organizations are The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, American Conservation Experience, etc. These tend to be classified under the "Environment" sector on our board. In total, these are ~40-50 orgs like these on our board, and we're working on adding more over time.

No_Excuse_76985 karma

I am a junior in college who is pursuing an Environmental Science major with a minor in GIS. I am very passionate about using GIS to help understand climate change and other environmentally-related issues and I was wondering where the best place to look for internships would be? I am also wondering what types of GIS programs and coding tools I should become familiar with to gain an upper hand in the field of climate change. I really enjoyed sitting in on the zoom job fair!

terra-do4 karma

Great to hear about your interest in internships! Your college/university should have a good job portal that lists internship opportunities, and I would suggest starting there. You can also follow general job boards that specialize in internships such as:




Really the best way to explore and land an internship is through networking. You should search for professionals on linkedin who do the kind of work you are interested in. Reach out to them with a short pitch/intro and ask if they would be open to crafting an internship. This way you can create something that is a perfect fit for gaining the skills you are hoping to gain and the knowledge and relationships that will help you with next steps.

LudovicoSpecs4 karma

There are many people who are retired or soon-to-be retired who want to help, but on a more informal or part-time basis.

Some of them have very impressive resumés.

Do you have pathways for them to join the fight or advice on where to find those pathways?

ActivateFellows1 karma

Early-stage startups tend to need the most hands on deck while having the fewest resources to engage them. By working with an organization that supports emerging climate tech entrepreneurs, you’ll be able to share your expertise and provide a service that they might not be able to afford otherwise. Some ways to go about this:

  • Offer to become a startup advisor (could potentially also include equity compensation agreement)
  • Become an executive-in-residence at a local university or college
  • Volunteer with a climate tech incubator or accelerator to offer your services to the founders they support

One example of that kind of volunteer activity: at Activate, we’ve brought together a Leadership Council–50 high-tech-focused and visionary leaders across government, philanthropy, venture, corporations, and academia–that advise, advocate for, and connect Activate Fellows with networks and opportunities on a part-time basis.

terra-do1 karma

To add to this since there are absolutely are! You can also consider being a pro bono or paid consultant to companies and organizations you find doing impactful work.

Reaching out to network with company leaders you find inspiring or impactful is a great place to start, offer to help them with one of their challenges after a discussion to learn more about what problems they are tackling.

I'd also recommend checking out Third Act (Bill McKibben's org) too!

xis_honeyPot3 karma

What's the best way for a software engineer to help work on climate issues? Any good resources for finding green tech companies that use my tech stack?

terra-do0 karma

Search through all the climate job boards for key phrases in your tech stack, watch out for greenwashing and do your own assessment of the company's likely impact, and network/apply with those companies.

Here're the software engineering roles we have listed right now to get you started:


[deleted]3 karma


terra-do2 karma

This is a great question. I'd recommend reaching out for a series of informational interviews with professionals who do the kind of work you are most interested in doing to gain their advice and recommendations on what possible steps you could take to make a pivot!

terra-do2 karma

Some areas will require a hard sciences degree and experience, and some may not. So to determine what options may make the most sense to you and are most interesting to you, professionals currently working in your areas of interest will be able to help you identify possible paths forward. Start by searching on linkedin for professionals working in organizations you like. Then reach out with a connection request, and request for a 30 min zoom/coffee chat or informational interview.

decentchef3 karma

Hey Terra.do team & Activate folks! Alum & fan of Terra here.

One challenge I've been having is applying my background (analytics & product) to orgs that are upstream in deep tech / hardware. I'm wondering, for those who understand deep tech growth patterns, what "non-technical" (perhaps “non-engineering” better describes as coding is technical) roles tend to be the earliest hires at these companies? I'm sure it depends, but for someone hoping to get involved as early as possible with a deep tech organization, and who has client-facing, product management, and data analytics backgrounds, how should I be thinking about target roles?

terra-do2 karma

I find sales and growth-related roles to be among the earliest hires after initial product development. Anything that helps a company identify and build relationships and brand in its target market will be essential to proving that it can be a viable business beyond building the technology.

Pariell1 karma

How do compensation, benefits, and work life balance compare between climate and non-climate jobs of the same role? Is it an industry that takes advantage of candidates passions?

terra-do2 karma

We've seen comp, benefits, and work/life balance are all comparable between jobs at similarly sized climate and non-climate companies.
People in climate look for passion in their incoming hires, but first and foremost, they look for functional skills. And they recognize that those functional skills have market rates in terms of salaries in other industries; attempting to underpay just doesn't land these companies anywhere good. (As opposed to, let's say, industries such as entertainment or journalism, where the supply of talent with passion outstrips the demand by orders of magnitude - that is not the case in climate).

[deleted]1 karma


terra-do-2 karma

There is a big need for sales and BD work in most climate companies! If this is a strength of yours I'd definitely encourage you to look at all the sales roles on our job board. Check out the climate companies on there to identify your favorites, then see if they are hiring for sales or BD positions, and if not, it doesn't hurt to reach out anyway to express your interest! Networking with climate companies is a huge lever for learning what's out there and finding a role.

catoucat1 karma

Which companies could be looking for product managers? I also wonder if we make more impact working on a climate change company, or trying to change an existing company (internal lobby)?

terra-do8 karma

So many companies! Here's an idea of what's out there for product managers:

The decision (and impact) between working at a climate company or trying to change an existing company is hugely personal. Creating change within an existing company can have a massive impact and is important work, but it can be a years-long uphill battle. Some people love this work, others can't stand it, so knowing yourself is important. In the end, the most impact you can have sits in the middle of what you're good at, what you're passionate about, and what you can get paid for.

Dapper-Variation-6841 karma

Hi, I have a question regarding some companies' general application options. Is that a resource companies turn to before posting a new job? Or during the new hiring process? Is it worth trying to tailor my resume and cover letter? Or is it just a black hole for my sweat and tears?

terra-do2 karma

Always, always, follow up any application – but especially a general application – by reaching out to a networking contact! Go ahead and submit a general application if you are excited about the company, but the networking contact is much more essential/important. Recruiters and hiring managers will always go to their well of contacts first before picking up someone they don't know from a pool like that!

hazywolverine1 karma

I’ve thought about working in the field before but I have no idea what’s out there. I just graduated with a philosophy degree and have plenty of transferable skills from years as a waiter. What kind of opportunities might be out there for someone like me and where can I find quality ones?

terra-do1 karma

I recommend starting by browsing through our job board to see what kinds of climate jobs look most interesting and exciting to you! Then, note what kinds of skills and experience are listed in those opportunities as important. Then you’ll want to build a plan to get any skills or experience that will help you align best to those requirements, like taking on project or volunteer work or courses that have project-based components. You’ll also want to build your resume and LinkedIn profile to Reuter directly to the kind of role you are most interested in and a good fit for as you get more relevant experience. And, of course, networking is key. Attend job fairs, reach out in climate slack communities, or on LinkedIn to people doing the roles you are excited about to learn more.

-FearRua--1 karma

Hey there! I agree that climate change is one of the most dire problem facing humanity. I'm currently in pursuit of a computer science degree, and was wondering if you have any insight into what kind of positions would be a good fit for a programmer/developer to help fight climate change? I would like my work to make a difference in the world and sometimes it feels impossible. Thank you for any response, I truly appreciate anyone taking their time to answer.

terra-do1 karma

We have a ton of computer science listings on our job board – not sure where you're based, so you'll have to filter by location or remote:


Networking and coaching are important and can land you a job– we have engineering-specific job fairs coming up that have a lot of networking opportunities:
July 12 | Aug 2 | Aug 16
There are also several engineering folks on #ODC that would be good folks for people to network with, you can book right into their calendars: https://terra.do/opendoor-climate-community/
And an engineers networking event on July 10th: https://app.terra.do/events/nn1DLxY2UoOOr4llHCpQ

DanielSank-2 karma

I'm a physicist with ten years of industry experience. Where can I find a meaningful job in ecology / climate / energy?

terra-do-3 karma

There are definitely physicist roles in climate!

Not sure where you're based, but here's a quick search for relevant roles on our job board: https://terra.do/climate-jobs/job-board/?q=physicist

Beyond that, the biggest thing is to start networking so you can find organizations in your industry that are doing the type of work that you're interested in!

Pongpianskul-2 karma

Are we doomed?

terra-do0 karma

It won't be easy, but it's not too late, so we aren't doomed!

See the comment here: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/14le5mp/comment/jpxcym8/?utm\_source=share&utm\_medium=web2x&context=3

Then_Ad_7774-4 karma

My question: are we doomed?

terra-do2 karma

We're not doomed, and there's still time. It's not going to be easy, and we do need as many people working on solutions as possible, but I'm hopeful that we'll succeed.

From my experience, the more I learned and understood about climate change, the less climate doom I felt. I think the Learning for Action course we teach is really good at this, there are also others you can look at, but it's important to get deeper than the headlines. There's also a strong focus on community and emotional resiliency in the course, because a lot of the time as we learn about the problem folks get overwhelmed by climate doom and shut-down, when that's the moment to channel that energy into action.

BoMan420-4 karma

I just finished a Bachelor's in Geography with a minor in Geology. I am EXTREMELY passionate about the earth and climate change. What would be your best advice to go about finding a job right now so that I can feel like I'm contributing to the cause in a positive way?

terra-do1 karma

We only have a few geography jobs on the board right now, but there are a lot in geology!


The other big thing – and this applies to any job search – is to look for companies doing work that interests you and reach out to network with folks who work there!

Island_Groooovies-8 karma

Are there open conversations in your organization about the limitations to solving the climate crisis within a capitalist economy, in which private companies are incentivized to prioritize growth and appearing to be sustainable for PR over actual emissions reductions?

terra-do2 karma

We talk about this internally all the time. The work needs to be done in several areas of our society - industry (which follows the capitalist framework), government (which sets the regulations that govern that capitalist industry), organizations (such as schools, NPOs/NGOs) and the populace at large.

This AMA is specifically focused on climate careers, and the bulk of those careers are in industry. That said, there is action to be done - and happening - across the board in all the other areas of society. We don't believe that this problem can be solved with industry alone, not by any stretch - but we also don't think it is feasible to solve this problem without industry, when it is the engine that powers our daily economy.

We talk about this internally all the time. The work needs to be done in several areas of our society - industry (which follows the capitalist framework), government (which sets the regulations that govern that capitalist industry), organizations (such as schools, NPOs/NGOs), and the populace at large.