An edtech start-up has set for itself a very ambitious target: Getting 100 million people working by 2030 to help mitigate climate change
Climate is literally everything under the sun. In case you wish to start working for climate change, where and how do you start? This question bothered Anshuman Bapna ever since he went on a holiday to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 2016. A serial entrepreneur and having worked at large internet firms such as Google and MakeMyTrip, climate change was always on the back of his mind.
“That year (2016) was the first time mass bleaching of corals due to global warming was observed, and I realised by the time my son grows up most of the corals (from the Reef) would have disappeared,” he says. “This wonder of the natural wonder might not be there for our children to see.”
This realisation woke him up from his corporate stupor, and along with Kamal Kapadia (climate change educator and clean energy advocate) and Mayank Jain (ex-CTO and founder at Righthalf.com, Atishae) he started Terra.do last year, an edtech start-up that offers courses on climate change and how one can be part of the climate solution.
Bapna and his team have set a rather weighty task for themselves, i.e. getting 100 million people working to solve climate change by 2030. However, he says the plan is ready.
“For our courses, we select a cohort of x100 ‘learners’ with exceptional backgrounds in their field and a deep desire to be a part of the climate solution. They then undertake a 12-week online course taught by world-class climate experts and practitioners. They gain a deep understanding of climate change and climate action, and learn how to leverage their own skills for maximal impact in the climate space,” he says.
One of the aims is to get the learners at Terra.do inspire their contacts and others to work for mitigating climate change in various capacities—both personal and professional.
Terra.do also supports learners finding their way into climate jobs. “This includes everything from part-time project work and activism to full-time jobs and starting their own companies. The aim is to build a large global Terra community where learners who have been part of the journey help each other create real impact,” Bapna says.
Current courses on Terra.do include Climate Change: Learning for Action, Climate Change for VCs, and Electric Vehicles & Fleets.
“To minimise climate change, the humankind needs to work as a team. We need to rethink how we produce energy, how we do agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, construction, and so on,” Bapna says.
As far as the profile of learners coming onto the Terra.do platform is concerned, Bapna says these include those who may want to change their job profile (like directly working with a climate organisation) to those who may want to start a climate organisation. “Even if someone may want to commit 20% of her time on climate solutions (maybe by volunteering for, say, a non-profit), without leaving her existing job, she would be part of the 100 million cohort we are planning to create by 2030,” he says.
As of now, most people who are studying at Terra.do are individuals paying from their pocket and not corporate-sponsored employees. “Many of them are actually worried about how climate change is affecting the planet,” Bapna says.
Some learners on Terra.do are from Indian PSU major ONGC. “Companies such as ONGC have started to think about renewables and CCS (carbon capture and storage) as a part of their portfolio. So their employees are our learners, as are those who have seen the writing on the wall and want to learn, say, how to reduce methane emissions from oil wells and so on,” he says. “One-third of our cohort is from India.”
Courses offered by Terra.do are connected to jobs. “We have a career services team and also a mentor programme, in which we have 100-plus individuals with 10-plus years of experience in the area of climate. Then we conduct a job fair at the end of each cohort where we invite a bunch of companies,” Bapna adds.
Climate change education must start early, and possibly that’s one of the reasons Terra.do is experimenting with a programme for high school students. Bapna says: “We have a programme for high school students that we are experimenting this summer, and if it works out we will roll it out broadly and widely.”