Work on Climate: Expert office hours, learning groups, starter projects (Oct 2020)

Welcome to the second Work On Climate newsletter! (previous issue, archive)

Please join our Slack! Here is a guide to our friendly Slack channels.

We are so excited that you are looking to get meaningfully involved in climate action. We offer a positive, action-oriented community that keeps folks motivated to work on climate longterm.

We are happy to announce a ton of new programs spun up by our amazing community. These include expert office hours, learning groups, starter projects, volunteering with climate nonprofits, consulting opportunities with climate startups, and community events. Keep reading to find out more!

We were so pleased to received this feedback from a new user: "I've felt the most welcome in this slack community vs other spaces I've joined." Thanks for joining our tribe and helping others work on climate :)

Learn the Space

The best way to learn the space is to start doing!

Starter projects

Want to work on projects other people? Join an existing project like @Ryan Lewis's HVAC Retrofit Software.

If you have an impactful climate project you want to lead that could use work on by the community, write your project idea up on Notion, and rally others around it by posting to #looking-for-buddies.

Learning groups

Looking to learn more about a subject? Use the power of the group to increase your own motivation, by hosting or joining a learning group. A learning group meets once a week at a fixed time. Members commit to spending a fixed amount of time each week researching this topic on behalf of the group. The goal of the learning group is to produce a tangible output at the end (e.g. a white paper or a business plan).

Ideas for working groups:

  • Marine sequestration — The ocean is a natural carbon sink. Theoretically, putting all atmospheric carbon dioxide into the ocean only increases oceanic carbon by 0.5%. What are the safest ways to do this?

  • Regenerative agriculture — Are there better ways to farm? Soil carbon capture? Managed grazing? Are these legit, or not?

  • Social science & psychology for climate action — How can we use ideas from psychology and social science to drive climate policy and societal change?

  • Climate adaptation — How can we help vulnerable areas adapt to the climate crisis?

  • Deep dive into a particular solution from Project Drawdown's sorted table of solutions

Starter packs

Are you looking for the best resources for your deep dive into a subfield of climate? We curated community recommended resources into “starter packs”. Check out our current packs on climate jobs, climate policy, carbon removal, oceans, startups, and climate finance. Help our community grow by recommending additional resources and packs in #learn-the-space.

Pilot Engagements

We are in the process of rolling out a new program called "pilot engagements" to help people get involved with climate organizations on a part-time basis.

If any of the following situations apply to you, please message @Richard Kim on Slack:

  • Are you interested in volunteering for a climate nonprofit?

  • Are you interested in getting paid for short term consulting with a climate company?

  • Do you want to talk to a bunch of climate organizations and help them scope projects?

  • Do you want to develop your PM skills?

  • Are you a climate organization with opportunities for part-time work?

Upcoming Events

We’re excited to present a full plate of climate events, including Q&As, expert office hours, founders meet ups, and guided brainstorm sessions.

You can always view our calendar of events here. If you would like to host your own event, please fill out the event proposal form. Learn more about each event in the RSVP link, and follow #events for more.

🗓 Wed, Sep 23 (10-11am PT) Climate Tech's Tipping Point: A Conversation on Climate Investing. RSVP here (external free event, contact @Miriam Roure).

We invite you to engage with a thoughtful conversation between a panel of climate investors as they shed light on the impacts of COVID-19 on the climate venture space, investment models and strategies, and topics such as car ownership and emissions, lower-density living, more bike lanes, and resource optimization.

🗓 Tue, Sep 29 (6-7pm PT) Q&A with Cate Levey, a chemist and composite materials scientist at Impossible Foods. RSVP here.

This event is an open-ended Q&A session with Cate Levey, a chemist and composite materials scientist at Impossible Foods. Cate can offer technical knowledge on the food system and food science, advice on scaling up physical things (she started the first three Impossible Foods factories), experience working for a hard science startup, and big picture views plus technical knowledge on relative importance of various climate solutions.

🗓 Thu, Oct 1 (7-8pm PT) Q&A with Arun Krishnamurthy, founder of the Environmentalist Foundation of India (facilitated by Jeremy). RSVP here.

Arun is the founder of the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI). After beginning his career at Google, he left to found his own digital media marketing company and focus on cleaning up lakes in India.Arun has been a Ted talk speaker, won the Google Alumni Social Impact award, the Dr. Jane Goodall Leadership Award, and the Rolex Award for Enterprise. He has been featured across international media and was recently profiled by CNN.

🗓 Thu, Oct 15 (5-6pm PST) Tedsday on Hal Harvey's Energy Policy Solutions talk (facilitated by Sam / Cass). RSVP here.

Every Tedsday, a community member hosts a discussion about a short (<15 min) TED Talk or other video that has profoundly impacted or inspired them. This video is a talk by Hal Harvey about energy policy (she has selected 15 minutes of it). In Cassandra’s words: “Hal Harvey can give you a dose of hope. This hour-long video shows how one person can make a difference in climate policy if they are hyper strategic.”

🗓 Thu, Oct 22 (5-6pm PST) Climate Founders Meetup (facilitated by Jeremy / Sam). RSVP here.

Starting a climate company? Want to build out your peer group of climate founders? At our founders meetup you will connect with your fellow entrepreneurs and share success stories & challenges.

🗓 Mon-Fri, Oct 26-30 (9:30-2:30pm PST) VERGE online conference on accelerating the clean economy. Sign up here(external paid event with free options).

Join more than 15,000 leaders advancing systemic solutions to address the climate crisis through five influential and dynamic markets: clean energy, electrified transportation, the circular economy, carbon removal and sustainable food systems.

🗓 Thu, Oct 29 (2-3pm PST) Guided Brainstorm Session: Drones and Climate (facilitated by Sam). RSVP here.

Drones can gather immense amounts of data that can be used to combat climate change. From firefighting to agriculture, we're increasingly seeing more innovative deployments of drones for climate.

Expert Office Hours

We are proud to announce the start of our Expert Office Hours program. A huge thank you to our experts:

  • Patricia Silva is the cofounder of Carbon Removal Centre. She has both an engineering and MBA degree and is interested in discussing venture investments, tech and nature-based ideas!

  • Dom Potter was the first entrepreneur in residence at IKEA. He is currently building software to help materials engineers make lower carbon supply chain decisions. Dom is both a founder and an investor.

  • Dave Fork is a physicist, entrepreneur, home renovator, renewable energy technologist, bicycle mechanic and non-profit founder. Fun fact: Dave painted his roof white to help keep his house cool. Talk to Dave about your idea for solving climate change, starting a clean tech company, and how to lower your carbon footprint.

  • Joe Rollin is a biochemical engineer and former ARPA-E fellow. Joe is excited to discuss anything at the intersection of climate and biotech.

  • Denton Gentry builds software models for Project Drawdown.

  • Zoe Samuel is a content strategist who co-runs the largest internal climate community at Alphabet. Zoe is happy to advise on building climate communities, networking, fundraising, and content strategy and creation.

  • Troy Hodges is a data scientist at the FERC. He's happy to chat wholesale markets, energy regulation, state or federal energy policy, getting a data analyst/scientist role in clean energy, DEI in energy, among other things!

  • Olya Irzak is the CEO of Frost Methane - a company mitigating methane emissions from the permafrost & coal mining, and has previously worked on rural electrification in sub Saharan Africa, early stage prototyping for climate projects at Google X, and on electric grid technologies at Google Energy. She also advises a nuclear fusion investment fund.

To sign up, go to Expert Office Hours, and pay it forward by sharing one thing you learned at #share-your-path!


We aim to present relevant and interesting job postings to the group via the #jobs channel. With that goal in mind, we're excited to announce that we have teamed up with Climatebase to add recent posts from their site to the #jobs channel. If you have any feedback on this integration, or on jobs in general, please let us know!

Recent postings:

Getting to know each other

We have a super diverse community with folks at different stages of their climate career — experts, recent converts, and newcomers, currently totaling 120+ people.

  • If you haven't already, come introduce yourself on #introductions. Find stories that resonate, and hit people up. According to Slack, 60-80% of our community conversations are happening in DMs!

  • We have set up Donut to host weekly conversations for groups of 4 people**.** This round, 10 groups of people have talked and 2 have met. Be brave! Initiate the conversation for your group :)

Here's a glimpse into our community:

Alisha Pegan is focused around the intersection of community development + urban and natural ecological systems + equity/justice. Currently, helping tribal governments in northern California get solar and battery with a nonprofit called GRID Alternatives. Before that, she managed the City of Boston's climate resilience program for short-term and long-term planning around sea level rise, flooding, heat, and community resilience.

Jil Mehta is a fresh computer science graduate from the Concordia University who came across Eugene Kirpichov’s post on LinkedIn and was immediately attracted to the cause. Very excited to join the group and hoping to take some of the required steps towards environmental protection.

Dom Potter is the founder of Halo, on a mission to rewire mass production to renew the planet. Previously he had been IKEA's first ever Entrepreneur in Residence, building a CVC fund + accelerator, as well as a commercial strategy for using resources in a circular way. Dom is happy to help with your personal journey of finding the right idea, founding a company and taking it to scale, or finding linchpin opportunities for change within existing systems at scale.


Are the current community structure and programs useful to you? Is something confusing or frustrating? Is there something you'd really like to see? Do you want to get involved as an organizer?

We want to iterate on this community with you — post your ideas on #community-meta, or if you prefer to brainstorm privately, message @Eugene Kirpichov or @Eva Illescas!