The summer of 2022 has been one where Keelin learns how to mitigate her climate anxiety. The doom scrolling, the “what’s it all worth” and the seeming ambivalence of the world. It really puts a damper on thoughts of the future.
To help me get around this doom, I’ve turned to places like Pique Action (Link Here) and particularly Alaina Wood (@thegarbagequeen on TikTok). It’s helped because not only are people working on climate action, the innovation that is happening is awe-inspiring. I’m always interested to find more climate-inspiring podcasts rather than climate doom news inspiration, so when a release day review pitch, for the fourth season of Degrees, where they focus on Jobs of the Future.
At first, I did not really know what to think of this podcast. It made me curious, and I like to give most of what comes across my emails an episode or two. I’m glad I was sent the first two episodes of this podcast because the first episode is a roadmap but the second episode tugs at your heartstrings in such a fascinating, and inspiring way.
In about thirty-minute episodes, our host, Yesh Pavlik Slenk takes us through a climate career of the future. The first episode is very much explanatory, explaining a book with the guest- a venture capitalist focused on green solutions in the United States. I won’t lie, it wasn’t the most engaging of episodes. It felt a little lecture-like for someone who maybe isn’t already in this sphere. The whole of it follows a book that gives us the steps to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It’s a long list and does take a moment to follow because it builds moment by moment. Be prepared to listen a little more closely to episode one to be able to appreciate the subsequent episodes.
The second episode, though? This is the heart of the podcast. A real story of how someone can use the skills they have in one place, like say HVAC systems, and use it to eventually spearhead a movement. Episode two discusses school buses and energy in a school district in California. The right person, without the typical background I would say, got the right type of job in the right place and changed a school district that really needed someone to believe in it. Not only that- but Yesh and her guest give some real insight as to how much the younger generations are caring about green solutions. An adorable idea - the Energy Patrol - got kids involved in saving energy, cutting costs, and being engaged in their community. Three things we don’t always think to teach, only to role model.
Production-wise this is a solid podcast. The audio is clear, the editing is great, and after the first episode, it’s easy to listen to and follow- even if you’re not paying the closest attention. It may be a style thing but some of the integration of sound effects felt hesitant like our producers aren’t sure if they want to commit to the sound effects underlying soundbites or not. It’s not a podcast that you’ll put down for the quality of production- but it might make some of us with more hours with podcasts on pause for a moment. It’s a great episode to not only give you a little bit of hope that maybe we can pull forward in our climate struggles but also maybe give your teenager or college student an idea of a real direction you can go.
This brings me to the final segment of Degrees.
My favorite part is the final segment. Just a few minutes long, and really the actionable part of this podcast. Yes, I love the stories of people with jobs in green careers, trying to save the Earth little by little. This final segment though is where Yesh answers questions from people trying to find a career. It is resoundingly reassuring to be reminded that you don’t have to be a climate scientist to have a job that can impact real change. As many people are discussing degrees in the arts and humanities, it’s important to remember that many positions in any organization need soft skills: communication, critical thinking, community building, and more. There are so many ways to be involved in building the future- and Yesh fully supports that in this segment in episode two.
I may be a little biased on the idea of the soft skills: my degree was essentially a collection of soft skills that I have used in every job theatre-related or not- but I’ve been seeing a lot of conversation around degrees in particular lately. I think we all need to practice thinking outside of the box.
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