What employment sector do you work in?

Public Sector

How long have you had a green job for nature?

4 months

Salary Range

< £20,000

Please describe the work that you do.

I’m an intern with the Sustainable Business Team (SBT) in the Environment Agency (EA). This is the team responsible for the EA’s sustainability strategy, and I am in the Circular Economy part. We’re focussing on transforming the way the EA works to keep resources in use for longer, minimise waste, and take a holistic approach to sustainability. We work closely with the other parts of the SBT and those in the wider EA to embed sustainable practices in everything we do as an organisation.

What do you most like about your job? Any dislikes?

I most enjoy knowing my work will have a tangible positive effect on the environment and society. It’s also been great to meet and learn from people who have developed their careers in the sector. While there is lots of progress being made and attention given to the climate crisis, as a society our climate action needs to be significantly more ambitious and inclusive – it can be frustrating when there are unnecessary blockers to the transformative changes we need to make.

What inspired you into this career? 

I spent a lot of my childhood in Norway which is famous for its natural beauty. Each time I go back though I can see that natural beauty being damaged by industrial development or the climate change that development has caused. I wanted to do work that would protect the nature we are so lucky to have and ensure an equitable future for everyone. The climate and biodiversity emergencies are intertwined with issues such as gender equality and racism – all things I want to tackle.

Have you faced any challenges in progressing your career so far? 

EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) and the climate crisis are topics not everyone is comfortable talking about – they have lots of complexity and political links. Many people find talking about these topics uncomfortable and controversial. Facing these conversations head on is necessary, but I do find them nerve-wracking, particularly as I’m likely talking to people much more senior than me. That and impostor syndrome have been challenges but both are helped by working with people who share my passion and drive.

What education/training did you have?

I have an MSci in Natural Sciences (physical chemistry & mathematics and statistics) from UCL. For my masters project in my final year, I developed a proposal for embedding sustainability into chemistry degrees. The motivation for this proposal came from me feeling like I hadn’t had enough formal education on the climate crisis and sustainability, and from finding out other students and staff felt the same.

What advice would you give to someone coming into the profession? 

A great piece of advice I have been given is to develop a thick skin: resilience and perseverance have been essential. We are coming into the profession at a crucial time – the importance of the decisions we make this decade cannot be overstated. I think that brings a lot of pressure so early on in our careers, but it also brings a huge amount of opportunity for innovation, creativity, and collaboration to build a future we’d all be happy to live in. I think that’s incredibly exciting.

Follow Martha

Blog: https://www.theurbanpickles.com/

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