We speculate that it could be impactful to work or intern for any of the recommended charities or promising organizations above.
You should think carefully about how to spend your most valuable resource, time, by considering how:
Where you live affects the impact of your actions.
Your personal fit and motivations make you better suited for some actions over others.
You can be resilient to changes in the global context.
One of the most effective ways you can contribute to a cause is to work on it directly (especially if it is a good fit for you, you are early in your career, and you would do the job better than the next person). We recommend 80,000 Hours’ career guide discussing research on satisfying and impactful careers.
Below are some key ways we think someone could use their career to effectively alleviate climate issues:
There are many ways to become an advocate. For climate change, particularly impactful roles could be political and policy positions, management or grantmaking at influential climate organisations, as well as lobbying interest groups.
For advocacy your chances of success and the impact you make if you succeed, is very country-specific. For example, if you’re in an EU country, advocacy might be more tractable, but it’s possible effective solutions are already being championed. Advocacy in developing countries may be neglected, but your chances of success may be less certain. Learn More →
A lot of research is already occurring in the climate change space, and your impact could vary greatly depending on which field you enter. If you’re early in your career, you might want to investigate the most promising interventions, and then evaluate which skills are most needed within them before diving into research.
Meta research aggregates existing knowledge, or combines several sources of knowledge together (like climate economics). Such research may not be incentivised by existing institutions but could be incredibly valuable to make recommendations to decision-makers. Civil servants, think tanks and other climate nonprofits do such research, and can sometimes have a good degree of autonomy to produce high-quality work.
Innovation and Research & Development
You could contribute to innovative fields such as clean energy, clean meat, and clean transportation. You don’t need to be an engineer to contribute. There are other important roles, for example in marketing, supply chain management, and similar roles.
Founding or working for an effective climate charity
Many attempts to do good fail, but the best are exceptional. We think founding climate charities which focus on causes that rank highly in the ITN framework could be a very promising path. Charity Entrepreneurship incubates high impact charities and can potentially consult you on this.
Further, it might be useful to reach out to individuals in the EA community and the Effective Environmentalism directory. You might also check out the climate.careers job board or https://jobsforhumanity.com/jobs/list (California-specific).
If you would like to work on improving Effective Environmentalism careers advice please join the EE Slack channel.