Environment and Sustainability

1. What are the branches of Environment/Sustainability work?
2. What skills are needed for this type of work?
3. Who are employers within the Environmental/Sustainability field?
4. What Environmental/Sustainability resources are available?

1. What are the branches of Environmental/Sustainability work?

Conservation: Conservation includes restoration of polluted or developed lands, preservation of wildlife, and protection of cultural treasures, such as ancient archaeological sites. Most of the field’s jobs are rooted in science, although because federal legislature remains the main force behind conservation, workers in this field also benefit from a background in public policy, law, and finance.

Education and Communication: Because environmentalists depend on the support of an informed, concerned public, education and communication are top priorities within the movement. Scientific discoveries are often mired in complex technical terminology, which puts the burden on writers, teachers, filmmakers, photographers, media specialists, and other “translators” to bring the message in clear terms to the people.

Environmental Consulting: Consultants of all varieties help corporations comply with environmental law, work alongside government agencies as contract specialists, and generally offer vision, advice, and technical expertise to those who need it. Individuals with the ability to combine technical or scientific expertise with a solid understanding of the legal and economic realities of business are in particular demand.

Environmental Management and Planning: Environmental managers deal with and prevent problems with the environment; planners, meanwhile, work with communities and individuals to make eco-friendly decisions when working to develop or reshape their local area.

Parks and Recreation: All kinds of specialists toil in our nation’s parks. There are managers, law enforcement officials, and goodwill spokespeople for nature. While most Americans associate environmentalism with the national park system, urban parks, where landscape architects turn city brownlands into playgrounds, are also included in this field.

2. What skills are needed for this type of work?

Employers in the environmental/sustainability field are looking to hire individuals who possess the following skills: good communication (written and spoken), persuasion, interdisciplinarian, self-motivated, team player, integrity, politically astute, physically fit, versatile, science background, systematic thinker.

3. Who are employers within the Environmental/Sustainability field?

Government Organizations: The federal government has several agencies, departments, and initiatives related to environmental issues. While some agencies are regulatory, others are more focused on research and/or education. Examples include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S Forest Service, Commission for Environmental Cooperation, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Office of Environmental Management. Visit www.usajobs.gov to see Government job listings.

Private Sector – For Profits: Here is a sampling of For Profit organizations who hire individuals with backgrounds and experience in environmentalism/conservation: Seventh Generation, Burt’s Bees, and Whole Foods.

Private Sector – Non Profits: Within the Non Profit sector, environmental careers can fall within a wide range of categories such as education, outreach, policy, law, community organization, etc.  Non profits who hire for environmental positions include the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Environmental Defense Fund, The Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, Earth First!

4. What environmental/sustainability resources are available?

Ecological Society of America
The Nature Conservancy
Environmental Defense Fund
Sierra Club
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Eco Employ
Environmental Career
Eco Jobs
Environmental Expert
Great Green Careers
USA Jobs
US National Park Service
Grist Jobs
Green Jobs
Low Carbon
The Student Conservation Association
Tree Hugger
Sustainable Business
Green Biz
B Corporation
The Pew Charitable Trusts
The Environmental Leadership Program
The Institute for Conservation Leadership
National Registry of Environmental Professionals
National Association of Environmental Professionals
Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Earth Watch
Fair Trade USA
Business for Social Responsibility
GRACE Communications Foundation
Net Impact