I graduated in December, 2016 with a bs in psychology, and found that what I really want to do rather than research is combat the antiscience mentality in the US, especially in regards to climate change. Eventually, I want to establish my own organization sometime in the future, and my aims for that project are not very well defined at present, but I'm trying to find a place for my skills in an established organization while getting paid for my work. There is no issue in selling my skills to employers, but what I'm struggling with is finding employers to apply to.
Might anyone have any recommendations of methods to finding these organizations or know any specific ones that I could look into? I live in Nashville, TN, and would like to stay here, so if you're unfamiliar with the area, may be you know some larger nationally acclaimed organizations that have flown in under my radar.
A couple of people have suggested volunteering. While I recognize the value of increasing the range of opportunities to me to gain skills by making the experience a cost to me, surely there are more PAID opportunities than that. I understand that southern cities may have fewer of these kinds of jobs than larger metropolises, I hope to go back to school in the next year, so I do want to stay here.
Ya gotta go where the money is.
Almost any show worth anything on NPR is supported by a small handful of foundations that can be found here: https://stateimpact.npr.org/supporters/
Each of those organizations give money to people to support their funding mission. Like the Hewlett Foundation who have given more than $144m to organizations working on environmental issues, this year alone.
Then you dig in to the organizations that they have funded. Go to their web sites. Look into what they do. What positions do they have open? Do they have internships? Job openings? Partners they work with? What about those partner orgs? Are they hiring?
Big picture, here, you are trying to get work in an industry that doesn't MAKE money. It SPENDS money. So you will never earn much money. Jobs will always be hard to find, because every dollar spent on your salary is a dollar not spent on furthering their mission.
And none of these jobs are gonna be in your area. Nashville is just not where the leading companies working on climate change are located.
Another option is to go to work for a local company that shares the environmental goals you seek to encourage. Find a sustainable coffee company. Or a landscaper that uses native plants and minimizes water usage. This type of experience will lead directly to you gaining practical, boots on the ground knowledge, that employers will look favorably on.
There is also Tennessee's own department of the environment: http://www.tennessee.gov/environment/article/efo-nashville
And even the Mayor of Nashville is pushing to make Nashville the "Greenest City in America". But the problems she faces have mostly to do with policy.
So dig into local politics. Champion issues that support the Mayor's mission. Work with local orgs to get people to vote for good policy changes, that will help the Mayor make things happen.
Climate change is a problem with a thousand facets. Creating another poorly funded think tank web site to spew a bunch of words out, is simply going to take that money from other orgs that can do that work better already.
So get out there. Get stuck in. Try and schedule a meeting with the Mayor. Follow and read ALL of the links in that article about the Mayor's plans, and get up to speed on what needs to happen in the local political scene.
Because, in the end, legislation and policies are not written from scratch. They are edited versions of other policies that were successfully implemented elsewhere. If you get a good policy passed in Nashville, you can share it with other environmental policy leaders in other cities and states, and get them to implement it as well. Bit by bit, the ship turns, and you have your hand on the tiller...