No, seriously. We have jobs, internships and learning opportunities to help you get there. Take it from Audrey, a climate activist and our new Blue Futures Pathways intern, and see how you can also launch your ocean and water career!
Tell us about yourself.
I’m in my third year as a biology and natural history student at McGill University. I’m passionate about ecology and environmental justice—not just in my classes, but through climate activism, student government, and my role at SOI as well.
What did your pathway into environmentalism look like?
Spending time outside—camping, canoeing, hiking, and trail running—was my first introduction to learning about ecology. But I wasn’t sure whether I could turn my interest in the environment into a real career, so I actually started university as a biochemistry major. Within my first few weeks at McGill, I got involved with the climate justice movement, learning how to organize climate strikes and working on the fossil fuel divestment campaign. Getting involved with climate activism made me realize that an environmental career could be a reality for me.
What’s your advice for young people who want to turn their passion for the environment into a career?
So many young people don’t know that they can get funding for an environmental internship or job. Looking for your first environmental job can be hard, especially since a lot of environmental organizations are underfunded themselves. I applied for internship funding through ECO Canada, which helped me land my position at SOI. And if you’re interested in finding a sustainable job in the ocean and water sectors, you can apply for funding from Blue Futures Pathways.
Would you say it’s hard to get started in environmental, climate-focused careers?
There’s a big gap between unpaid and paid positions. Getting involved in environmental activism is so important—I’ve learned so much about climate justice and about how environmental issues are affecting my community. But it was hard to make the leap from this type of unpaid work to my first paid position. I think programs like Blue Futures Pathways and ECO Canada are making it easier to bridge that gap.
This summer you’ve been interning with Blue Futures Pathways at SOI. Could you tell us a bit more about the program?
I’m always excited to talk about Blue Futures Pathways! It’s a program that provides opportunities for youth to jumpstart their careers in Canada’s sustainable ocean and water sectors, providing everything from career and learning resources to job funding. We’ve also just launched our internship program, where youth can find funding and training to find positions in the ocean and water sectors.
It’s still early days, but what are your hopes for the program?
When I joined SOI earlier this year, the program was still getting off the ground, but it’s been steadily growing and creating opportunities for youth—especially underrepresented youth—to get involved in the ocean and water sectors. As it grows, I think Blue Futures Pathways has the potential to make Canada’s ocean and water sectors more diverse and more sustainable. I’ve met a lot of people my age with big ideas about sustainability and water, and I’m excited to see what youth will do when they take over these sectors.