Six environmental jobs you may not have considered
Once upon a time, if you told someone you wanted to do environmental work, they’d automatically assume: park ranger. Not anymore! Today, the market is bursting with green professions for a wide range of skills, degrees, and interests. Here are six of the creative ways that you can make a career out of caring for the environment:
Green roofs are the thing of the future, with cities around the world beginning to require buildings to cover their roofs with solar panels or greenery – or both. So how about specializing in growing rooftop orchards or vegetable gardens? Green roofs can provide local produce while cooling buildings, improving air quality, and making great use of rainwater. And you don’t even have to leave the city to do it!
In today’s world, nothing is exempt from the need to be environmentally sensitive. Which means, in practice, that there is nowhere environmental designers cannot tread. They can specialize in architecture, designing ecologically-friendly buildings or refitting older ones; urban planning, plotting out the green cities of tomorrow; and industrial/commercial design, creating everything from electric cars to a more eco-friendly coffee cup to sip from while reading blogs like this.
It’s one thing to design ecological, low-impact products; it’s a whole other thing to convince people to buy them! Green marketing brings environmental principles to every step of a product’s genesis: processing, packaging, distribution, even collaborating with designers to create new product lines for target markets.
The advent of mass tourism and low-cost airlines has been great for consumers, but terrible for the environment. In response, ecotravel companies now offer ways for travelers to continue to roam the world, but in an ethical and ecological manner. And that, in turn, has redefined what it means to be a tour guide: besides knowing about history and culture, ecotourism guides are keenly aware of flora, fauna, and the relationship of people to their surroundings. And if travel isn’t exactly your thing, on-site work is also possible, from ecological parks and botanical gardens to ecomuseums and more.
Sustainable Systems Developer
Calling all coders! A sustainable systems developer designs the programs and code that underpin all resource systems, from wind farms and energy grids to recycling and waste-disposal networks. Think of it as the environmental design career described above, but for computer whizzes. And with oil and other fossil fuels set to run out in our lifetimes, designing sustainable systems has never been a more urgent task.
And let’s not leave out people who do want to be out in the forests! With deforestation as one of the leading causes of global warming, this vital career focuses on the proper stewardship of our forests, including conservation, planting, recreation, and the regulation of activities such as timber and hunting. Forestry can also involve working with local people to transition from slash-and-burn agriculture to a sustainable relationship with their woodland areas.
We all need to make a living, and we want to feel like we’re making a difference while we do it. With a green career, you can combine profession with passion while helping our planet resist dangers such as climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. And the great news is: there have never been more ways to do it.