It's to provide ideas, inspiration and support for indie greens to drive the change people and our planet need

I’ve interviewed freelancers, consultants, startups, social enterprise founders and indie-professionals in the green sector. I’ve met innovative and inspirational people and distilled their knowledge and my 25 years of experience into this site to help you to help the planet.

Now, more than ever, we need people working to save the planet

  • Careers That Harm the Planet

    In big ways or small, make money and provide jobs

  • Careers That Help the Planet

    Are hard to come by and aren’t well funded

  • The World Needs More Indie Greens

    Innovative people doing amazing work that saves, repairs and improves the planet.

What can be done?

There has been a shift in the way people work. Two big trends are impacting the world of work:

  • Increasing automation. This is leading to large scale loss of traditional jobs. Area that thought they would be safe have found even their jobs could be under threat. Nurses and lawyers have discovered that parts of their jobs can now be automated. I used to think conservation was one of the lucky few that was automation proof, then they started flying drones over land carrying out surveys. It can happen to anyone.
  • The Internet. Yes, I know it’s been around for a while now, but opportunities are still surfacing in how we can use it. The first to take advantage of the changing world of work were internet start-ups like Uber and Deliveroo that kicked off the gig economy. But it has also brought advantages to a wide range of people like authors, musicians, online trainers and coaches to name a few.

This got me thinking that there have to be creative ways in which greens can come up with the projects they care most about and self fund their work using the tools the internet now provides. Funding  and marketing are key. There’s no point in beating about the bush, you need money to feed, clothe and house yourself as well as the funds to run a project. So how does an indie green finance and promote their projects and themselves?

This question kicked off my own experiment in working out how it could be done. For the last two and a half years I have been working as an independent and testing a range of possible options, as well as interviewing others who have set up as indie greens.

So far I have:

  • Done freelance consultancy in environmental skills, fundraising and development
  • Provided career coaching in the green sector and becoming an indie
  • Delivered training courses
  • Set up a freelancers jobs board (how SEES Jobs started)

I have also been working on but haven’t yet launched:

  • A “How To” book - for passive income and marketing purposes
  • Webinars - as a way to scale up training income and provide additional passive income

I am still on a journey of discovery, in part to see what brings in the most money, what provides the greatest impact in terms of outcomes for environmental projects and what I enjoy doing. The fun thing about being an indie-green is that your job can evolve. I found that I didn’t enjoy coaching so I dropped it. The jobs board was a never-ending chore and I realised I want to be completely autonomous and not have any clients at all, so I have repurposed it. That’s something I haven’t addressed yet on this site (but will in a blog), there is tremendous satisfaction from working for yourself and driving your own projects forward. It’s a newfound freedom I never want to give up.

I hope this website will provide similar inspiration to you. If you have a passion for the environment and want to do work that is meaningful for you, and makes a difference to the world, then it’s time to stop hoping some green organisation out there will hire you. It’s time to take action. Don’t wait for somebody else to give you permission to follow your dream. Get out there and do it for yourself.

Ongoing Research and Lobbying

If you are an indie-green please get in touch, I would love to hear about your experiences and how you overcome challenges.
I am currently writing a report on how indie-greens work that will be shared on the site in the next couple of months. Check back here regularly or sign up to the newsletter to be the first to know when it’s published.
My particular area of expertise is the environmental sector in the United Kingdom so I would also love to hear from anyone in other green sectors and other countries for your perspectives.

Who am I?

I’m Marina Pacheco and I’ve been passionate about the environment, most specifically animals, since I was a child. I could sit for hours on the top step of our house watching the lizards zipping about. I knew from about the age of six that I wanted to do work that involved animals and nature. I also already knew that those same animals were under threat. I vividly recall a conversation with my father where I said I wanted to study zoology but was worried everything would be extinct by the time I was old enough to go to university. He told me not to be silly and as it happens he was right, there was still plenty of wildlife left to study by the time I got to university. But it is a dwindling resource. The latest scary statistic is that we have a dramatic lost in insect biomass (http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/where-have-all-insects-gone). The situation is equally worrying for the climate and levels of pollution on land, sea and air.

Not that I was worrying about those issues when I finally graduated with my Zoology degree. At that point all I wanted was a green job. Any green job. I moved from Johannesburg (in South Africa) via Portugal where I worked in Lisbon’s first ecological park and finally landed up in London. I am passionate about urban ecology, hence my moves from one city to the next. After a year of volunteering and a year out to do a Masters in Landscape Ecology, Design and Management at Wye College (now part of Imperial College, London), I finally landed a job with BTCV, now called The Conservation Volunteers.

BTCV is a fantastic organisation that supports grass roots conservation across the UK. I learned all about practical conservation, environmental skills training and assessment, health and safety and volunteer support and management from BTCV. I also learned an awful lot about fundraising, and what community groups really need to get a project off the ground. I then did a stint in a local authority parks department, where I learned all about managing people’s expectation in a park sector facing ever dwindling funds and back to BTCV as London Area Manager. There I did even more fundraising and managed my biggest team of 16. Then a big change as the Head of Planning (that’s town planning) at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). At CPRE I had a baptism of fire around policy work and campaigning. CPRE is well oiled campaigning machine that put out putting out two to three press releases a week. Through them I was interviewed for all the major newspapers and have appeared on all the green themed TV shows in the country as well as doing hundred of radio interviews both locally and nationally. I also lobbied civil servants and MPs. Which is where I discovered my least favourite activity in the world - going to party conferences. I have my doubts about the effectiveness of lobbying exhausted MPs over a packed 4 days.

Finally I become the CEO of The Mammal Society, a small, national, scientific society. Running a small charity is great practice for setting up your own business, because you pretty much have to do everything and I gained a mass of new skills along with making use of the old ones. Fundraising featured heavily (it’s a never ending struggle to bring in the money) as well as managing membership, marketing the organisation via every possible medium but especially the free ones like social media, managing projects and delivery of charitable objects, managing staff, liaising with trustees, financial reporting, buildings maintenance including unblocking toilets (oh yes, all very glamorous) and the list goes on. As a CEO you live your job. You go to bed thinking about it, you wake up thinking about it, you find yourself coming up with fundraising strategies or worrying about staffing issues whilst you’re in the shower it is all consuming. It also provided me with a strong skill set to go it alone.

Marina Pacheco
Marina Pacheco

Becoming an indie-green has been an ongoing process that, two and a half years on, I am still working out. Some people quit the day job, become a consultant and do that for years afterwards. I was less clear about what I wanted to do, and how I was going to do it. For me it was a journey of discovery and I have been tweaking it and making it more to my liking as I go along. This is a refreshing change and a freedom I think you only get if you work for yourself.

I have enjoyed this process so much that I want to share it with as many people as I can. I also believe it has the potential to get more people into doing green work  -which is my passion. I meet so many people whose dream job is to do something green but they can’t see a way to do it. I would like to provide the inspiration and information that will help you make it a reality for yourself.

Sign up for the Newsletter

Get monthly updates on all things indie-green

We value your privacy and would never spam you

Contact: marina@environmentalfreelancers.com - got a question, comment, suggestion, get in touch!

Privacy Policy & Terms and Conditions

© 2016 How to go Indie Green ('How to go Indie Green' is the trading name of Environmental Freelancers Ltd, a registered Company in England & Wales, no. 9814569)