October 5, 2012
Green jobs: Earth-friendly work options are growing
Do you care about making a difference as much as you care about your career?
“Green” jobs — defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as jobs that produce goods or services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources, or jobs that use more environmentally friendly processes or fewer natural resources — have outpaced jobs in other categories by almost 250 percent over the last decade, and growth doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
These in-demand jobs show how you can make some green while going green.
It used to represent a niche market, but “building green” is becoming a standard among both homeowners and business owners. As energy-efficient dwellings and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified buildings become the rule rather than the exception, employment opportunities for both energy-efficient builders and architects will grow, according to the BLS.
Renewable energy engineer
As fossil fuels stress our planet, demand for cleaner, more-renewable energy sources — wind, solar, bioenergy, geothermal and hydropower — grows.
If you are good at solving problems, care about the environment, are committed to social change and have a degree in electrical, mechanical or chemical engineering, this could be the career for you.
Green investment adviser
More eco-friendly investors mean more opportunity for investment advisers who specialize in environmentally focused organizations, making this a job that’s green in more ways than one.
Look into this career if you have an interest in the stock market or other financial areas but also want to help people invest in socially responsible, environmentally friendly companies.
Lush, green lawns and beautifully manicured yards may look harmless, but they are often created using hazardous pesticides and chemicals, excess water and gas-guzzling machinery.
Green landscapers use earth-friendly methods to help reduce the negative impact that traditional landscaping has on land, water, air and energy use.
As consumers become more educated about the negative effects of chemicals and pesticides in our food supply, they are demanding healthier, safer options.
A MarketWatch study showed that the increase in demand for organic food grew 73 percent between 2004 and 2009, and the USDA confirms that demand for organically produced food continues to outgrow supply, making this a winner of a job for anyone with a green thumb.
Going green is a trend that’s here to stay, and smart businesses want to keep pace with consumer demand. If you’re a business specialist who also has extensive knowledge about environmentally safe business practices, there are plenty of other businesses that are willing to pay you for your expertise.
Wind turbine/solar panel sales
Growing knowledge about the negative effects of traditional fuels, as well as exploding prices, have people more interested than ever in harnessing the energy of the wind and sun.
Do you prefer the tweets of birds to the tweets of Twitter? Camping in front of a fire instead of in front of an Xbox? You may be the ideal candidate to preserve and protect our national, state and local parks.
In addition to having extensive knowledge about botany and wildlife, park rangers must have excellent wilderness skills, be comfortable enforcing the law and have first-aid skills.
You don’t have to live in the country to go green; city dwellers are also getting in on the action.
Urban planners use a variety of tools to determine the impact of city challenges such as development, transportation, waste and pollution on the environment, and make recommendations to minimize negative impact.
As long as cities are focused on sustainability, urban planners will be in high demand.
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