By Orna Herr, Communications Officer (Education) at the British Science Association 


When it comes to the climate crisis – perhaps more than any other issue facing humanity today – time is off the essence.

A sobering article in the Guardian reported on new research which found that, for a 90% chance of keeping the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius, carbon emissions would need to hit net zero by 2035; there is time for us to make a difference, but not very much of it.

This conversation needs to be at the centre of science education. The current generation of children and young people will come of age into a fast-changing world - they will have to be equipped to act.

A place for everyone

Green Careers Week (6-11 November) is a perfect opportunity to discuss the types of careers which would allow them to use their science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills and passion to battle the climate crisis. Lowering carbon emissions, improving sustainability, boosting biodiversity... there are a myriad of ways industries and researchers work towards a greener world.

Right now, the STEM workforce is dominated by White, able-bodied men, but for real progress on the climate crisis diversity is key. Young people of all backgrounds, genders and abilities must be taught that if they have passion for STEM, they can and should pursue it – we need them now more than ever.

To help you celebrate Green Careers Week in this spirit, we’re sharing some of our Smashing Stereotypes profiles of people working in ‘green’ jobs that could inspire your students. Smashing Stereotypes is a campaign run as part of British Science Week to shine a light on people from backgrounds often underrepresented in STEM, or who are using their STEM skills in ways you may not initially associate with science.

The campaign will be running for British Science Week 2024, whose theme incidentally, is ‘Time’. You could also explore the relationship between time and the climate crisis as part of your events and activities for the Week.

Smashing Stereotypes

Lauren Doyle

Lauren Doyle is a chemical engineer at Urenco, an international supplier of fuel cycle products for the nuclear power industry. As Site Net Zero Lead, Lauren’s role is finding new ways to achieve carbon-free operations for the processes at Urenco.

Lauren’s interest in sustainability led her to study chemical engineering at university, opening the door to her career finding net zero solutions. There are lots of ‘green’ careers under the umbrella of engineering, but today women make up just 9% of the engineering workforce. Encouraging girls at school with a passion for problem solving to look up to role models like Lauren and pursue their interests is vital.

“It’s true that I often walk into a meeting and I am the only female, but I have also worked with many strong women who are paving the way for the future of women in STEM careers…I would love for young women to look at careers in engineering and know that there is a place for them, just like there was for me.”

Read Lauren’s Smashing Stereotypes profile here.

Tendai Taruvinga

Tendai Taruvinga is the founder of plant-based, African-inspired food delivery service Veafy. Tendai is a brilliant example of someone whose career does not immediately appear to be connected to STEM or indeed the climate crisis, but in fact it is.

Cooking is a science; working with varying temperatures, methods of cooking, ingredients, equipment, to achieve a certain result – chemistry, physics and biology are all involved! And food is tied incredibly closely to the climate crisis.

Farming livestock causes around 15% of all global greenhouse emissions – therefore switching to plant-based diet, or at least cutting down your meat consumption, is a very effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. Tendai’s work selling delicious plant-based food is part of the fight against the climate crisis.

His profile can demonstrate to young people that you don’t have to go into a traditional STEM industry, in the narrow sense of the term, to have a green career.

Read Tendai’s Smashing Stereotypes profile here.

Romy Kenyon

Romy Kenyon is Sustainability Project Manager at 3M, a science-based technology company. They are committed to improving lives and doing business in the right way.

Romy studied chemistry and French at university, which allowed her to work in Swiss and Belgian laboratories (read our blog on how studying foreign languages can complement a STEM career) before joining 3M. Romy told us:

“In my current role as Sustainability Project Manager, I have…an opportunity to influence something much wider than managing my individual carbon footprint.

“My role is extremely varied, from understanding the environmental footprint of our products to working with organisations like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation looking for opportunities to reduce our impact on the planet.”

Companies taking sustainability seriously is crucial and as the climate crisis intensifies, more companies will undoubtably hire candidates with STEM backgrounds to work in similar roles as Romy’s.  

Read Romy’s Smashing Stereotypes here.

The conversation about green careers is of course one that should happen all year round, but events such as Green Careers Week and the British Science Association’s British Science Week are perfect occasions to carve out time to let young people from all backgrounds know about the opportunities available to them, and to hear about their ambitions.

Read more about Green Careers Week here:

More blogs you might be interested in:

Green Careers Week: celebrate with CREST!

Green projects set to inspire students and bring the curriculum to life

'Green' jobs and roles emerging in STEM industries are not accessible to all, according to new report 

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