On Wednesday 2 February, UAL Careers and Employability hosted the online event ‘Green Job Opportunities’ as part of Creative Opportunities Unlocked – a three-day online event aimed at helping students gain insight from various industry and career experts.
The online event featured Denis Fernando, a climate campaigner from the environmental group Friends of the Earth, who discussed the importance of green jobs, gave insight into his organisation’s various campaigns, and offered helpful advice for creatives looking to get involved in this sector.
Denis, who has a vast history with campaign work originating from his days as a student union officer, stated that Friends of the Earth’s aim is ‘to empower people to realise the big difference that they can make on a lot of climate issues’.
He discussed how the organisation defines a green job as one that helps to do any of the following:
- Reduce carbon emissions.
- Restore nature.
- Achieve a healthy environment.
He stressed the importance of such jobs in tackling the current youth unemployment crisis as well as the climate crisis.
Denis debunked conspiracies that green agendas are not cost-effective and argued how initiatives that Friends of the Earth support - such as cycling cities, domestic retrofitting, and reforestation - can save both money and lives.
‘When people say we can’t afford this agenda, I always say we can’t afford not to have this agenda’ – Denis Fernando
When asked how creatives can get involved, Denis noted various creative green jobs such as:
- Sustainable Fashion Design
- Marketing and Communications for Green Industries
- Content creation for Green Campaigns
However, he also recognised the challenges of getting a job in this sector and stressed that lending your creativity to the green campaign on a voluntary level is a great way to network and show passion (and could lead to a green job in the future).
He provided a list of individuals and companies for students to approach such as:
- Patagonia – a green outdoor clothing company
- Octopus – a green energy company
- Good Energy – a green energy company
- Local Councils
- Environmental Department of the Greater London Authority
‘It’s about resiliently saying, I’d be really happy if I got up in the morning, and I felt like I was making a difference by doing X, Y and Z, and you fill in the X, Y and Z’
Denis’ most important piece of advice for finding a green job, was for the audience to think about their passions and creative skills and then discover how they could translate these into useful contributions for the climate change campaign.
For further resources surrounding green jobs, read Friends of the Earth’s guide on how to get a green job and their emergency plan for green jobs (PDF 1.4MB). You can also follow Denis Fernando on Twitter.