How to Get a Green Job

Former UCSB Counselor Dennis Nord Offers Tips on Finding Careers in Climate Change

Submitted by: Suzie Clark, Sally Saenger, and Jennifer Mackie

In discussing green jobs, Dennis Nord is more likely to point to climate-solution sources than the wanted ads. He spent about four decades counseling students at UCSB and giving career advice, but despite his degree in psychology, he feels his best advice has been to tell his students to go outdoors when they need to make a big decision.

“My approach is different,” he explained. “It’s not to look at a job list and pick one, but to do it right.” 

When it comes to climate change and the current eco crises, people tend to care the most about one particular aspect or another. “If you’re interested in a specific concern about climate-change issues, look at the job you’re doing now,” said Nord. “Ask yourself, ‘Is it possible to do something about that from where I sit?’”

For those entering the job market or beginning to decide what major they’ll study in college, Nord’s advice is to do research. He suggested the website ProjectDrawdown.org as a place to start. It lists dozens of climate solutions from restoring abandoned farmland to distributing water efficiently. Drawdown’s information is a starting point to thinking about how an undergrad’s skill set could match the variety of jobs that make up the solution, said Nord.

In a way, he’s done that himself. Since retiring 16 years ago, Nord now writes a blog called ClimateCareerMoves.com, which he started after reading a set of comments at Emily Atkin’s Heated newsletter. 

“It was clear from the questions that these were people who could make a lot of good things happen, but they couldn’t connect with clientele very well,” said Nord. “That’s what I do. I’m interested in helping people make connections.”


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