Cover image for How I Decided to Fight Climate Change as a Software Developer

How I Decided to Fight Climate Change as a Software Developer

pablooliva profile image Pablo Oliva Originally published at voice.ch.ckl.st ・4 min read

tl;dr - In short, I assembled an effective process for identifying climate-change-fighting companies to work for. This included some unique tactics which I know led directly to me being hired in less than 1.5 months. My process helped me find and focus on 5 companies, expressed interest in 2, which resulted in 1 interview (phone and then an in-person) and an offer a few days later. The step-by-step process is available as a checklist: https://ch.ckl.st/r/find-a-job-fighting-climate-change-as-a-software-developer

Nothing meaningful happens instantly, but we have to work and fight for something better. Read on...

October 2018, A Turning Point

Last October, the IPCC released a report on climate change that really shook me.

Why the IPCC Report is so Scary

The road that led me to be concerned about climate change started farther back though. In the last couple of years, becoming a father really helped me mature, or at least made me less selfish. As a child myself I remember learning about how we were destroying the environment. Sadly, not much has changed for the better in the last 30+ years since my childhood. The report made me reconsider what I was doing with my life, made me re-evaluate what I have kept hearing my entire life in regards to the looming danger posed by climate change, and made me realize that I can no longer turn away from the harsh reality that we are facing. The party is over!

At the time that the IPCC report was released, I was working on a checklist app as a step towards developing a more robust application for helping job seekers organize and be more effective in their job search. I decided to leverage what I had been working on to help me pave the way for others to fight climate change in every way they can. By December, the app was in a usable state.

First I created a short checklist for taking simple steps in our personal lives to fighting climate change. My family and I followed these steps ourselves, though we had already cut back, if not close to entirely cut out, eating meat. Meanwhile, I kept trying to figure out what else I could do to do more towards the fight.

Dump Your Meaningless Job

During this period, as I sat through my scrum daily meetings and my team and I discussed the details of the tasks that we were working on, I realized that the shit that we were producing made no difference to the quality of anyone's life, and was far from having any impact on alleviating climate change. It did not matter what I accomplished professionally or how much money I made if at the end of my life I ended up leaving my children, and all other children, with a planet turned into a real life nightmare, or well on its way towards that. Every day I wondered if I was the only one living a life of quiet desperation. The comfort of my stable and stress-free job was no longer enough.

I created a plan and set out on finding more meaningful work, work that would help me devote my energy towards fighting climate change. I turned the plan into a checklist with the hope that others could duplicate my results. The results for me were nothing less than astonishing. Maybe it was the fact that I quit my job before having something else lined up, and I am sure that resulted in some extra motivation and focus, but by following the steps in the checklist I was able to "easily" find work that aligned with my desire to continue doing software development but in an area that contributed towards the fight against climate change.

Moving Forward

Not everyone will have the same results as I did. Everyone's situation is unique. What is not unique and applies to everyone though is the reality that we are destroying our only home.

We Are Here: The Pale Blue Dot HD

How we live and what we do with our time is under our control. How we live on this planet in its entirety is a creation of ours. We can do better. If we stop being cowards, lazy, apathetic and start being just a little more creative, hopeful and get off our asses we can change the course of history. Start by taking just one step forward. Then, take the next one. After that, do not stop taking steps in the right direction.

Green New Deal: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

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Pablo Oliva


Drawn to challenges, learning and building.


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Hi Pablo, 2 years ago I bought this book about web app eco-conception best practices - I don't know about an english translation - but I feel like it is a too small water drop in an ocean of immobilism...

We need to develop and apply sorts of green guides to our works and we need places to learn and share about this as Software Developers


@drozerah , your idea for a place to learn and share about best practices for being climate/eco sensitive is excellent. Do you have any ideas or thoughts that you would like to share to get this going? I am committed if you would like to join me.

I found what I think is a checklist based on the book that you linked to: checklists.opquast.com/en/ecoconce... Does this match what you read? I would be happy to do an initial translation if you could then proofread it for me afterward.

In any case, no pressure to commit. Thank you for the idea(s).


Wonderful post! For my own part I've been doing volunteer development for sunrisemovement.org. We need collective action as much as we need individual and company change!


Thanks Luke. I completely agree with your thoughts on the need for collective action. I have supported Fridays for Future and I have been trying to get directly involved with Extinction Rebellion. I am familiar with the Sunrise Movement. I am impressed by and have admiration for what they/you are doing. Thank you for your contribution. You guys are doing great work. Stay strong and keep pushing my friend.


Fantastic! Fridays for Future and XR have done more for this cause and for the world in the last couple of months than many have been able to do over decades. It gives me great hope to know that you’re out there making a difference both at work and after work. Keep going, and always feel free to talk with me on days when hope is hard to come by.

Your offer is very kind and thoughtful Luke. I extend the same invitation back.


Great post Pablo. I've also been working to fight climate change. Trying to mobilise the tech community around the issue with techimpactmakers.com


Thanks Steven. Glad you found the post to be positive. I have joined techimpactmakers, looks interesting.

I took a look at climatechoice.co/, and the header states "We must cut global emissions in half by 2030".. I thought that the IPCC Oct. 2018 report said we had to completely eliminate carbon emissions by 2030 to avoid the gravest of consequences. Am I mistaken?


I hadn't seen that report. It was based on what I'd heard in the Uninhabitable Earth book. Will look into it again, cheers for pointing that out!


Thank you, and I too recognize and am extremely grateful for the privilege that we have. I hope that my suggestions and my story motivates more of those who have the opportunity to make such a move.


LOVE this post. To be courageous is often hard, but your pragmatic approach to start right now, from where you are is brilliant in it's simplicity. Kudos, I'm glad I'm in this with someone else...


Mark, thanks for the compliment and I am very happy that you enjoyed the post. We must fight forward, together, in every way we can. Seeing the responses here and also now following groups, i.e. Extinction Rebellion, that are fighting hard for change has brought me from feeling despair to feeling hopeful. There are many examples of courageous things being done by many determined people, but form a personal example last March 15, with my family, I joined a local Fridays for Future protest here in Germany. The "kids" that organized this were super prepared, serious, and very clear about what they were doing. They are so much more aware than I was when I was their age. I walked away very impressed. In case you or anyone else is interested in joining this sort of thing, there is another worldwide protest scheduled for May 24: facebook.com/events/313546356029054/


Love your article and your checklist! I always wanted to do something about climate change and as a web developer I didn't really know what to do. Very happy to see your article.


Hiatt, thank you for the kind words. I hope that the information that I provided helps you fulfill your desire to take action for a brighter future for all of us. Let me know if I can do anything to help.