Five Environmental Careers That Don’t Involve Science
You followed your heart and majored in the humanities, and now that same heart is pushing you to save the environment. But green careers are for science majors, right? Marine biologists and geologists and environmental engineers? Well, not quite. In reality, the environmental movement is a burgeoning, interdisciplinary network, and passionate people with all types of backgrounds are needed. Here are five environmental careers that are a perfect fit for humanities majors:
1. Environmental Writer
Calling all wordsmiths. Environmental writers write on green issues in a variety of ways and for a range of outlets. This could mean writing for a blog or trade magazine, becoming a journalist specializing in ecological issues, composing press releases and white papers for environmental organizations, whipping up help pages and manuals for technical products – even writing environmental fiction! The public needs to know about green issues, and environmental writers are the conduits for that communication.
Environmental research is a hot field in academia, with emerging fields like environmental humanities, sustainability studies, and environmental studies attracting talented researchers from across the disciplines. These dynamic programs are challenging the compartmentalization of the traditional academic disciplines, bringing a much-needed interconnectedness to ongoing research on areas such as deforestation, resource depletion, and species extinction.
3. Green Artist
The arts are a powerful way to create environmental consciousness, and today’s generation of artists is exploiting that leverage to the hilt. Photographers, sculptors, and painters the world over have photographed open-pit mines, created labyrinths composed of plastic waste, converted toxic sludge into paint pigments, projected virtual forests onto city landscapes, and filled cities with papier-mâché pandas to illustrate their plight. The only limit to green art is human creativity – which is, by definition, limitless.
As much as our Western tradition attempts to separate the two, humans form an indisputable part of our environment. And environmental anthropology studies precisely the role of humans in nature, researching how different cultures survive in sets of circumstances that range from the temperate to the most inhospitable. Environmental anthropologists are also on the front lines to determine how communities from Alaska to the Middle East are reacting – and responding – to the effects of climate change on their territories.
5. Environmental Educator
Do you enjoy teaching and working with groups? Environmental educators teach the public about ecological issues, working in conjunction with educational institutions, non-profit organizations, protected parks and forests, and other nature reserves. This could entail giving talks in schools, guiding nature walks and field trips, planning programs and curricula, and creating promotional materials. A perfect job, then, for those who wish to combine the interconnectedness of environmental studies with the interrelatedness of working with other people.
Scientists will always be a foundational part of the environmental and conversation movement, but they can’t do it alone. Humanities majors, with their ability to reach people through words, writing, and art, are a critical link. For saving the planet is not only about science and statistics; it is about finding ways to open people’s eyes to the beauty around us – and to motivate us to take the actions necessary to protect it.
Want to learn more about environmental college majors you might not have considered? Check out our blog post, The Six Best College Majors for a Green Career.