Applying for your first full-time job soon? It’s not going to be easy to find something, but that’s just because so many new and different options are opening up for Generation Z that it’ll be hard to know what to settle on. You could be an urban farmer, or a virtual reality experience designer, an ethical hacker, or a drone operator. With an internet connection and the right skills you could earn bank without leaving the house, as a vlogger, for instance, or a YouTube content creator.
But even if these emerging opportunities sound a bit ‘meh’ to you, what if I told you that there are openings for ambitious people looking to save the world? No, the Avengers aren’t hiring, and the X-Men don’t have any available internships at the moment. What I’m telling you is that there really is work available for people who want to help save the world, because our planet actually does face peril.
Scientists are telling us that we need to do more than we are doing—much more—if we want to keep enjoying creature comforts like above-sea-level living and edible food. However in every threat lies an opportunity, and with the massive, multi-faceted threat that is climate change, comes massive, multi-faceted opportunities. It might sound as corny as a line from a Cornman adventure, but maybe you could have a future in helping save the world. Check out some of the available roles:
The world needs storytellers. A good storyteller has the power to captivate, and we need people who can make us see, understand, and feel strongly about what is happening around us. Scriptwriters, documentary-makers, authors, actors: these are roles that you can take on for other reasons than to just make some coin or get yourself famous.
A recent article in The Conversation argued that a big problem in raising awareness about the implications of climate change is that the story isn’t being told well enough. Often the narrative is related through long-winded, incomprehensible science reports, which your everyday person doesn’t read. Been saving up for the next page-turning edition of the Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? Didn’t think so. But if you read something like Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour, or watch The Day After Tomorrow or Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, I guarantee you’ll be gripped throughout and champing at the bit to do something by the end. Climate change storytelling is a growing, important pantheon. And there are opportunities galore. If you have the power to tell a story well, use it. Humanity needs you to.
If you think that because we have iPhones and driverless cars everything in the world has been invented, think again. There are infinite things waiting to be invented, like hover shoes, or easy-to-open sliced cheese wrapping, or stylish magpie helmets. It might not sound like the sexiest career going, but inventors change the way we do things, and they are remembered. And the world needs inventors and innovators: to help us be more efficient and less damaging to the environment.
This isn’t restricted to inventing new stuff—inventing new uses for existing stuff is just as practical. For instance, if you could think up useful ways to re-use the billion or so disposable coffee cups Australians are estimated to throw out each year, your planet will thank you. I’ve had a ponder, but recycling the cardboard to build playground forts was the best I could come up with. I haven’t found a financial backer for that yet.
There’s something to be said for just getting out there and taking on evil-doers, whether it be through mobilising speeches, underground art, or thwarting unconscionable activity. It’s probably not a job that earns much cash money, but most people who put themselves out there and do something to make change earn big respect.
If you go about activism the wrong way don’t expect much love, but you don’t need to be constantly irritating or resort to law-breaking to draw attention to social and environmental ills, like polluting, or wastefulness, or illegal hunting. Maybe you’re someone with the skills to be a smart activist, someone not out just to annoy people or smash stuff, but to draw attention to wrongdoing in an intelligent way—a way that makes people think Jeez I didn’t realise the impact I’m making…might start riding the bike more. If you’ve got an idea and the abilities, help us see the wrongs in our world, and give us a chance to start righting them.
We need to change our behaviours to ensure our very survival. But people can be pretty lazy about doing anything to change. We need some genuine heroes out there to mobilise them—to motivate and encourage them. Maybe you’re one of those potential heroes. If so, think about applying for one or more of the available roles. All you need to do is think about what your skills are, and what you can do for the planet. Then start doing it.