Charting Climate
Career Pathways

Learn about possible careers in the field of climate change.

About the Activity

How often do the grownups in your life ask what you want to be when you grow up? Ever have trouble coming up with an answer? Maybe a career focusing on climate change is right for you. There are several career pathways you can take to around topics of climate change. From careers in policy making, to clean energy automotive engineering and sustainable agriculture, there are different jobs to match your interests.

Grades: 4 - 8
Topic: Climate change, job readiness
Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Brought to you by University West Virginia Extension/4-H and USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Woman engineer on laptop

New Interactive Activities!

4-H at Home's new, interactive lessons provide a much more exciting, fun way to learn. Click the Launch Lesson button to try it out!

Supplies
These simple supplies are all you’ll need for this activity.

  • A device capable of accessing the internet, like a tablet or computer
  • Websites such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov/ooh)
  • Paper
  • Pen/pencil
supply list icon

Activity Steps

Before we begin, it’s important to note: This activity should be fun! Don’t feel pressured to decide what you want to be when you are an adult. This is a chance to learn what types of careers exist in the field of climate change. If you don’t want to be a scientist, that’s also OK! There are many different types of careers that apply to this field – in addition to many other fields.

  1. Think about the kinds of jobs that might interest you. What subjects interest you the most? Science? Agriculture? Engineering? Politics? Construction? Is there a career you see yourself doing? With these answers in mind, take your piece of paper, and do the following:
    • Divide your paper into thirds by drawing two lines from top to bottom
    • On the left side, make a list of all the jobs that interest you the most.
    • In the middle, write down some ways that you could imagine any of these jobs can help to combat climate change. Write down your ideas next to the corresponding job.

    Did you know? A climatologist studies atmospheric changes and climate changes.

  1. Use a web browser to search for climate change jobs that match your areas of interest. For instance, you can search for climate change and engineering, or climate change and sustainable agriculture jobs. Is there a specific job you can find based on your search? Tip: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook is a great place to search! https://www.bls.gov/ooh/home.htm

    Now that you’ve had some time to search, take your piece of paper and make a list of jobs you discovered during your search.

    Did You Know? A mechanical engineer can specialize in clean energy, and build mechanical devices, such as cars, that run on clean energy.
  1. Next, do some internet research about the jobs that you found. Conduct some background research on the different jobs you came across. What are the day-to-day activities for these careers? Do any of them sound interesting or fun?
    Now that you’ve found some jobs that may interest you, ask yourself the following:
    • Which of these jobs relate to the original types of jobs you wrote down on the left side of the paper?
    • Draw a line from any jobs on the right to any jobs on the left that may be in the same field. Do you have any matches?

    Did you know? An environmental lawyer represents clients in environmental law issues such as clean water, clean energy, and climate change law.

  1. What qualifications does the job need? Using your internet-connected device, try to learn what kind of school or training the job you’re interested in requires. Write down what you learn. If you are out of space on your paper, you can flip it over and write on the back. Did you know? Materials scientists can be mindful of climate change by working to find methods for producing materials that don’t emit greenhouse gasses, such as rubbers or concrete.
  2. Repeat this process with as many careers as you find interesting. Inspired to continue researching different types of climate change jobs? If so, take a new piece of paper and repeat Steps 1-4. Who knows, maybe you can work toward a plan to mitigate climate change disasters in the future by pursuing a career in this very important industry. Did you know? Farmers can use sustainable farming practices to reduce their carbon emissions and limit their impact on climate change.

Bonus Activity (Optional)
Skype a Scientist is a website that connects real scientists to the public. It’s an excellent way to meet and talk to real climate change professionals. If this is something that sounds interesting, you can go through the Skype a Scientist website to schedule a meeting with a climate change professional in a science field. Be sure to ask your grownup before signing up, and make sure they are able to help you — participants must be 18 or older to fill out the Skype a Scientist form, so you’ll probably need an adult to do that for you.

Girl writing notes in a notebook

Reflection Questions
Bonus questions to inspire wonder:

  1. What kind of climate change job most interests you?
  2. What kind of fields offer a variety of climate change jobs?
  3. What kind of schooling or training will you need to follow the career you want?
lightbulb icon

Investigate and Explore
Take what you've learned to the next level to learn more and explore the possibilities.

Many careers outside of STEM are impacted by climate change. How do climate change considerations impact a career that you wouldn’t consider to be directly related to climate change?

Man installing solar panels

Shop 4-H Curriculum and Products

Shop4-H.org offers university-backed STEM curriculum, educational kits, products and supplies to expand your knowledge of space, rocketry and more.

mars-base-camp-277x300

Mars Base Camp Kit

Grades: 3-8

Featuring four hands-on activities that can be enjoyed with or without internet access and individually or all together, the challenge teaches kids STEM skills like mechanical engineering, physics, computer science and agriculture.

Family Kit: Includes materials for 1-4 youth.

Educator Kit: Includes materials for 12 youth.

Due to the overwhelming demand of the Mars Base Camp Kit, please allow 3-4 weeks for this item to ship after purchase.

$15.95 | $23.95

mars-rover-277x300

Mars Base Camp Rover

Grades: 3-8

Youth will use engineering skills to build a vehicle that can explore the surface of Mars, while participating in the Mars Base Camp Red Planet Odyssey unplugged activity. Each rover comes with assembly instructions and screwdriver. Batteries not included, takes 2 AA batteries.

$4.95

IKTD-STEM-Tee-277x300

Inspire Kids to Do STEM Tee

This 4-H STEM-centric tee features icons related to rocketry, chemistry, mathematics, and robotics, and it harnesses the fun and creativity that are central to all STEM project areas, including these and many more!

Offered in adult sizes only.

$12.99

aerospace-pin-277x300

Aerospace Pin

Once you've completed your Mars Base Camp or Aerospace mission, you've earned the right to display your accomplishment proudly with your 4-H Aerospace pin.

5/8" x 3/4", antiqued finish medal.

$2.49

marshmallow-rocket277x300

Marshmallow Rocket Kit

Grades: Pre-K - 3

In this 4-H Cloverbud activity, youth learn the basics of rockets and astronauts and will build a model rocket out of marshmallows.

Comes with an 8-page activity booklet and an inflatable space shuttle.

$8.95

aerospace-curriculum-277x300

Aerospace Curriculum

Grades: 1-12

The Aerospace Adventures curriculum deepens knowledge and understanding of aerospace while youth complete a series of fun, hands-on activities they can complete at home.

Set includes Aerospace Adventures Levels 1-4 plus the Helper's Guide.

$26.95

Brought to you by:

No endorsement of these supporters’ products or services is granted or implied by 4-H. This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, AFRI - Education and Workforce Development project 2021-67037-33376.

Help 4-H Provide #Opportunity4All Kids