Have you ever noticed a strong social and climate awareness in some of your students? Are they interested in fighting climate change and have a disposition towards proactivity and easy collaboration? If it is so, they need to get acquainted with the Co-founder of an Environmental Cooperative career. This career profile aims to fight climate change and increase awareness of its effects by collaborating and creating projects on sustainability and climate resilience, among others. This career path requires people with leadership, communication, charisma, and entrepreneurial skills. Do you recognise these skills in some of your students? Then meet Natascha Wahlberg, Co-founder of Social Climate, an Environmental Cooperative!
Meet the professional
Natascha Wahlberg has a bachelor’s in Environmental Sciences and a post bachelor's in Water Resources and Environment at the University of Malaga. In addition, she has undergone training in quality and environmental management, gender, international R&D&i projects management, nature-based solutions, sustainable development, and human resources management. Nowadays, she is co-founder, facilitator, and consultant at Social Climate - Social innovation for climate action, “where I work developing initiatives related to climate resilience, gender, sustainable tourism and local economies".
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To be a co-founder of an environmental cooperative, it is needed to have leadership skills “to boost the development of the projects and actions”. Co-founders tasks vary from supporting and leading your team, to decision-making and strategic thinking, which requires them to be exceptional leaders.
“It is the core of our business model”. Co-founders of an environmental cooperative base all their activity on the collaboration and coordination with other co-founders and projects partners. A team approach will be needed to successfully develop the projects.
Co-founders of environmental cooperatives who want to be successful need to have a research spirit. To be innovative disruptors, research “is used to define state-of-the-arts and develop studies on climate change”.
“It is used in our business communication and visibility”. Being able to communicate adequately the projects, actions and goals of the cooperative is crucial to ensure the growth and development of it, either by leading the team or by finding new investors or partners.
Developing impactful projects for society requires an active listening attitude. "It is used to detect needs and to suggest adapted solutions in the communities we work on". It is fundamental to speak with the local communities to understand their problems so that the projects are aligned with their needs.
Often, co-founders face unexpected setbacks and problems. The right problem-solving skills will provide resources to fix different situations and a correct attitude to understand that solving problems are part of the tasks of a co-founder of an environmental cooperative.
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Advice to take away
My advice to students isto study something that you are passionate about that motivates you and leads you to work (as freelance or for someone else's) in things that allow you to continue growing as a professional. And above all, not be afraid of failure.
As Barack Obama says, “focus on what you want to achieve, the change you want to enact in the world, rather than who you want to be”. And then, with that purpose clear, you will find the way by following your instincts, which do get better over time. Surround yourself with like-minded, good-hearted, visionary, and entrepreneurial people. Do not lose your ideals but become more selective as you go and channel your energy into the most impactful projects.
CC BY 4.0: all the materials and content presented on this STEM Job profile have been co-created by STE(A)M IT, a project funded by the European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme project STE(A)M IT (Grant agreement 612845-EPP-1-2019-1- BE-EPPKA3-PI-FORWARD), in collaboration with the Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) phase 2, a pilot project initiated and funded by the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. European Schoolnet (EUN) oversees the interviewing and creating of the NBS Career Sheets, with the support of VO EUROPE.