Many jobs pay well and offer attractive benefits. However, often they aren't sufficient to sustain a socially conscious person concerned with today's overwhelming ecological issues like global warming and climate change. Environmental work offers the pay and benefits, but also offers the opportunity to proactively and positively affect the world. Careers in the environmental sector range from policy-making and governmental work, to environmental consulting, to non-profit lobbying and education.
Degree Programs that Lead to Environmental Work
There are many paths into a career as an environmental scientist, policy-maker, green advocate, or educator. Studying environmental science means gaining a broad and inclusive education in the physical, biological, and atmospheric sciences. Ecology, geography, natural resource management, and geology are just some of the disciplinary foci of an environmental studies degree. Environmental engineering is another educational path that utilizes the principles of environmental science to engineer ecologically sound solutions to contemporary problems. Many environmental engineers work in the public sector dealing with public health, waste water management, air quality, industrial hygiene, and environmental law.
The Public Sector: Employment for the Greater Good
It is in governmental and policy-making arenas that the possibilities for proactively improving environmental practices exist. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department deal with law and policy, while the National Park Service protects lands in the public trust. Agencies such as the US Geological Survey, and the Bureau of Reclamation manage ecological resources and gather data on climate, hydrology, vegetation, minerals, and other natural resources. Often graduates of Marylhurst University with a masters degree in sustainable agriculture will be called on to advise on government farms and develop better and more sustainable methods of growing food, while other students work to research and gather data on public lands.
The Private Sector: Consultancy
In the private sector, environmental scientists are also in high demand in businesses. Private sector employment is usually in the field of environmental consulting for building contractors, city and regional planning offices, and real estate interests, or as a compliance regulator who monitors adherence to environmental regulations in industry.
Non-Profit Sector: Environmental Advocacy
Work as an environmental scientist or engineer is both personally gratifying, and financially rewarding. Such a career goes far beyond just a paycheck, and is one sure way to work towards a greener and more sustainable society.
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