In the past 10 to 20 years, careers in sustainability have grown exponentially. This is partly due to increased awareness of climate change. It’s also a result of innovation in the field; for example, the use of wind turbines and solar panels create jobs that didn’t exist before. Looking into the future, more and more jobs will fall into the category of sustainability. Many industries will face stricter resource management, opening the door to an endless number of earth-focused jobs — including some that don’t even exist yet! If you’ve considered a career in sustainability, here are some green jobs you might want to look into.
There are hundreds of types of engineering degrees and titles, with myriad job opportunities in sustainability. Wind, water and solar engineers study and develop those technologies while product, systems and mechanical engineers can also find ways for business and manufacturing to be more eco-friendly. Engineers focused on urban design can influence the infrastructure of an entire city, and structural engineers can work to design buildings with earth-friendly materials and passive energy systems. Then there are environmental, water, renewable energy and even recycling engineers, too.
Solar, wind or water specialists
Even if you’re not interested in becoming an energy engineer, there are many job opportunities relating to renewable energy. You can install solar panels or wind turbines. If you’re a mechanical type, you can work as a repair technician. Or, you could contribute to research and development for new systems. Another option is to educate others about renewable energy or work in product and system sales.
Related: Former coal miners receive training for renewable energy jobs
As the population of the planet continues to grow, food production is a central focus for many. But artificial, preservative-filled foods are a poor solution for feeding the masses. If you enjoy a hard day’s work and the satisfaction of literally seeing the fruits of your labor, working as an organic farmer might be for you.
As more and more clean systems become available to produce energy, we will continue to need ways to store, transport and use it. As a broker, you can facilitate this process by buying and selling renewable energy for clients.
Green construction workers
Opportunities for construction planning and work at the residential and commercial levels mean you can take part in helping to build more sustainable structures. Modern construction practices involve the use of energy-conserving HVAC systems, smart home technology, energy-efficient windows, improved insulation, non-toxic paints, water reclamation, solar panels and so much more. Jobs include construction worker, site manager, structural engineer, systems design engineer, architect, HVAC installer, technician or floor covering specialist.
Electric car mechanic
The number of electric cars on the road continues to rise, making a job as an electric car mechanic a promising career choice for the future. In this position, you can perform repairs or even convert gas-guzzling vehicles into electric ones.
Teacher or public speaker
Education is a powerful tool in the drive to inspire people to change their habits or get involved in a cause. As a teacher or public speaker, you can inform attendees in classrooms, offices and conference centers about important topics like climate change. This will allow you to educate the public about the needs of the environment and steps they can take as individuals or businesses to lower their ecological footprints.
There has always been power in words, but if public speaking isn’t your thing, perhaps you can express the same information through the written word instead. For example, you can work as a journalist researching companies who pollute or, on the other end of the spectrum, go out of their way to support environmental causes. There are also opportunities to create content on social media, formulating social media campaigns that create awareness about environmental topics.
Depending on your background, you might not need to obtain additional education in order to work in an industry related to sustainability. As a consultant, you can use your existing knowledge to advise businesses. For example, if you have experience as a contractor, architect or engineer, you can help businesses identify eco-friendly materials or systems during construction or a remodel.
Green jobs will continue to evolve and offer new challenges, but one thing is for certain — they are here to stay.
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Consider that not only does the UN and G20 have a companion definition of sustainability, but about a dozen of their 17 SDGs (sustainable development goals) for ubiquitous long term sustainable development by 2030 rely on advancing financial inclusion to the estimated 1.7B remaining unbanked adults. This type sustainability work helps improve the lives of the financially excluded (as well as 'under-banked') and encompasses financial literacy upwards through levels of financial sophistication. The FinTech industry innovates with micro-credit, micro-insurance, mobile money initiatives to help rural farmers, help families save with healthcare savings accounts, education savings, and dozens of other initiatives that help improve lives.