Climate change, climate action, climatetech, greentech, cleantech, deeptech… the list of names and buzzwords goes on. No matter your definition, the future of business is green. Net zero. Carbon negative. Regenerative.
Because it has to be.
Coming from a non-climate and not-really-tech background, it felt daunting to even start wrapping my head around this world.
For me, the Climate Tech Fellowship could not have come at a better time. It made my brain hurt to think about what area of Climate(Tech) I was interested in, and what role I would play. It felt daunting to even say out loud that this was where I wanted to go.
Having worked as a strategy consultant, I realised the board room was not where I was going to make the greatest impact. From experience, senior leaders are often caught between a rock and a hard place on budget allocation decisions.
There is an increasing number of and-and-and solutions (that address climate outcomes and whatever other priority), but still a lack of understanding, and a fierce lobby from those fearing that new solutions and stronger regulations will only add cost.
So this is why I joined.
To better understand the landscape of climate innovation, the different perspectives and the trade-offs.
I hoped to pursue a career where sustainability and profit could go hand in hand.
The Climate Tech Fellowship is a program consisting of 7 weeks, each with a theme where people working in that area are invited to talk about their work, their challenges and their opportunities. Their backgrounds varied, ranging from farmer to designer, from student to serial entrepreneur and from behavioural scientist to policy-writer.
What unites all of them is that somewhere along the way they caught the climate bug.
This immediately made them relatable to the breadth of our cohort. Because let’s be honest, most of us did not grow up thinking we would make a career in climate our life’s work.
But here we are, giving it a go.
Every week consisted of a number of virtual sessions, usually 1 hour long, with formats ranging from interviews and panel discussions to roundtables, hosted and moderated by advisors.
The sessions covered content across a broad range of Climate Tech topics including energy, environment and infrastructure, and a broad range of roles, including operators and investors, hardware and software, and innovators across water, land and air.
In addition, the Fellowship also included sessions focused on finding your fit in amongst the wealth of options, posing a variety of self-discovery questions as well as tips and tricks on transitioning into a startup.
We also got to site visit some amazing Climate Tech startups and were inspired first-hand by the founders! Of course, this buffet of activity was only a starting point, with 100’s of additional resources shared across the cohort to dive deeper into whatever climate problem keeps you up at night.
Next to the structured part of the Fellowship, Fellows were encouraged to connect and network with each other, through interest-based pairings, various IRL catch-ups and of course via Slack and LinkedIn. I’ve learnt so much from and about my fellow Fellows, and continue to be amazed every time I get to speak to new-to-me people in this cohort.
I think this program has something for everyone - whether it is to see what their neighbours are doing, connect to the new generation of climate workers, find a job or generally get inspired, it was an immersive experience filled with options, resources and networks.
One of the most valuable parts for me was that the Fellowship gave me a license to connect to people working or interested in climate.
It turns out, “I’m doing the Climate Tech Fellowship” was an excellent introduction to connect to climate leaders far and wide, and a great way to dig deeper into my favourite topics.
So how do I think about the future now I know a bit more than I knew before?
I would love to say that I am 100% more positive, but the reality is that I’m also more anxious.
More than ever before, I am aware of the urgency and how a linear way of thinking cannot get us out of the mess we’ve made.
I’ve realised how hard it can be to know what the right choice is, and how difficult it is to finance and commercialise out-of-the-box solutions, especially hardware.
Kudos to everyone working towards more transparency, anyone working on inventing new ways of doing things, and of course everyone else working in any climate role!
Through the Fellowship I now know my current interests gravitate towards All Things Circular Economy and Biodiversity, how to accelerate a regenerative future and how to bring more people on this journey - which now feels obvious, but perhaps that’s what finding your passion is meant to feel like?
Thank you Jules, for making it easier for me to (slightly less) blindly make the jump into the world of Climate Tech!