There's Work to be Done!
"Civilization needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades"
-- Paul Hawken
A wide range of organizations and fields are looking for people with environmental and sustainability expertise to meet the enormous environmental challenges of the 21st century. Eco Canada is Canada's online resource for environmental jobs, training and certification. For 20 plus years it has been researching trends and prospects in the Green Economy. Here are some recent conclusions from their 2013 report:
• More than 50,000 sustainability professionals work in Canada
• 18% of Canadian organizations have at least one sustainability professional on staff
• 68% of sustainability professionals have a Bachelor's degree or higher
• In 3-5 years, 84% of sustainability consulting firms expect to hire and 46% of other sustainability employers expect to increase positions in this area.
This degree is a passport to many careers in Canada and elsewhere... community sustainability planning, work in environmental organizations, government environmental and sustainability positions, green business and purchasing, eco-tourism, parks and open spaces management, alternative energy policy, environmental research, sustainable food systems, law, health and active living, to name just a few possibilities.
For detailed information on mapping the green economy, check out the 2012 report by Eco-Canada. CBC Radio's The Current also highlighted the green economy in a documentary on new and disappearing jobs (part 2).
Here are potential jobs/careers relevant for ESST graduates. Specific examples are noted in a Nova Scotia context but other locales would have similar types of opportunities.
• Environmental Advocacy, Education & Activism: The focus is on gaining knowledge and skills to help shift social, political and educational structures and processes toward sustainability. Work and policy analysis is at multiple levels: local, regional, national, international. Graduates from this concentration would be prepared to work in environmental advocacy, education, or policy development with non-profit or government organizations. Examples in Nova Scotia would be jobs with Ecology Action Centre, Clean Nova Scotia, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. RRFB, Conserve Nova Scotia, NS Dept. of Environment, Environment Canada, Parks Canada, NS Dept. of Natural Resources
• Sustainable Community Development: The focus is on gaining knowledge and skill to help shift individual lifestyles and communities toward sustainability in areas such as consumer education and community planning. Graduates from this concentration would be prepared to work in education, policy and planning roles in non-profit or community-related government organizations. Examples would be: HRM Sustainable Environment Office, Climate Change Directorate NS Dept of Energy, Sustainability Planner with towns or municipalities
• Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Sustainability: The focus is on gaining knowledge and skill to help shift businesses and organizations toward sustainability in areas such as organizational development and training, procurement, and policy development. Graduates from this concentration would be prepared to work in small businesses, corporations or government organizations.
Examples would be NS Power Sustainability Education positions, sales, communications and marketing with renewable energy businesses in solar, tidal or wind power (like Scotia Windfields). Jobs involving the greening of corporation or organizational operations with bigger corporations such as TD Bank or Public Works Canada, Revenue Canada, etc. Developing your own green business idea as an entrepreneur
• Environmental Thought and Practice: The focus is on the evolution and development of sustainability concepts from multiple perspectives across time. Attention is paid to critical and philosophical perspectives of the implementation of sustainability in thought and practice. Graduates from this concentration would be prepared to move on to graduate work and teaching in environment related disciplines and/or might work as writers, artists or philosophers in a range of roles. Writers, philosophers and artists tend to be passions that do not necessarily lead to specific jobs (people can sell their art but they rarely make much money). This concentration may not lead directly to specific career job prospects without further education.]