Kristy Drutman has a busy schedule.
Just days before she spoke with The Cool Down, Drutman was at the White House, where she spoke with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris about the green energy-focused Inflation Reduction Act.
Drutman, who graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017, has spent the last five years crafting a career in climate advocacy. She now runs her own media brand, called Brown Girl Green, which includes writing, podcasts, and social media pages about the looming threat of global warming.
“[In college] I realized that, as someone who was college-educated and had this privilege,” Drutman told The Cool Down, “I had an opportunity to really do something about it and support the work on the ground.”
But Drutman knows that not everyone’s path is so straightforward. That’s why, in March, she began posting about jobs in sustainability, conservation, green energy, and more.
Before she knew it, her followers were responding with questions, thank yous, and even more job postings. Soon, Drutman realized her “Green Jobs Board” was something much bigger than an Instagram post.
Today, the Green Jobs Board is a full-on web resource — plus a bi-weekly newsletter and popular Instagram page — focused on opportunities for young, diverse workers who want their work to impact rising temperatures and the rise of extreme weather. Even now, Drutman can hardly believe how quickly it’s grown.
“It sprouted from being just this mini-project of posts, to now being a full-on platform and team where we’re forming more meaningful partnerships with organizations, campuses, for-profit, non-profit institutions,” she said.
On the site, job-seekers can find postings with titles ranging from “Climate Policy Associate” and “Program Officer, Environment” to “Assistant Preserve Manager” and “Community Farm Coordinator.” Each job comes with salary info, suggested experience levels, remote flexibility, and whether the company is BIPOC-led or not. There’s also a section for environment-focused educational opportunities.
To Drutman, the board is one of the simplest, most actionable ways she can use her platform for good.
“[The goal is to] give people something very tangible in the way of environmental justice — which is payable, liveable jobs,” she said.
The project is deeply connected to Drutman’s whole approach to climate action. From her earliest days as an environmentalist, she knew the field had a major diversity issue.
“I was feeling like a lot of mainstream environmental storytelling just wasn’t cutting it and wasn’t being told by people who looked like me and who had my lived experience,” Drutman said.
Diversity and inclusion is one of the stated goals of the Green Jobs Board. By making the postings as accessible as possible, Drutman hopes she can start breaking down the barriers that have historically kept certain groups from entering the space.
“If I myself, who knew a lot about these issues, felt discouraged from wanting to get involved in it, then how could I expect other people to get involved in it if they couldn’t see themselves in the work?” Drutman explained.
Ultimately, Drutman believes that the best way to enact change is to make it personal. It’s why her online brand — on her podcast, her Instagram, and her website — is so specific to who she is as an individual.
“It was like, ‘No, let me go beyond being a climate scientist, or even a climate advocate, and actually talk about my own lived experiences as a woman of color who wasn’t necessarily an activist as a kid.’”
Drutman’s tens of thousands of followers have grown to expect that kind of realness. As she pointed out, even when she met the president, she was still being herself, “s***posting” on Instagram and “taking the most obnoxious selfies.”
The Green Jobs Board, in Drutman’s mind, has the potential to personalize the climate crisis, giving people of all backgrounds a chance to see themselves in the movement.
“If I could get mobilized in this way, then I could get other people mobilized as well,” Drutman said.
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