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Written by Lindsay Crowder   
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Thursday, 14 March 2013

Green Careers

What is a "Green Job?"
A green job refers to any profession working to make a positive contribution to the environmental movement. The term "green job" can wear many faces. Because the environmental movement is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement you can find your niche anywhere from advocating for sustainable management of resources to working to protect the natural environment through changes in public policy and individual behavior.

What is the benefit of choosing a "Green Job?"

The benefit for you is that the environmental movement is growing at a very fast pace so the demand for jobs in this field is also growing. You have the opportunity to cater your passions in ways that suit you while still making a positive impact on our environment. The benefits for the environment are endless. As we continue to pose threats to our environment, it is necessary to work to protect it.

Where do I begin?
As mentioned above, the job opportunities in the field are very diverse. The first things to consider are:

What are my current qualifications? Note: previous work experience, specialized skills, etc.

What do I want to do? For example: work as a teacher, scientist, researcher, lobbyist, consultant, lawyer, organizer, etc.

Do I need a specific degree? For prospective students there are many college programs that prepare you for a career in the environmental movement. Research programs through your university based on your interests. For existing professionals, there are many opportunities that do not require an educational background in Environmental Science, etc. Degrees may be preferred.

What types of jobs can I expect to find?
Once you decide what you want to do and what you are qualified to do, you can begin to explore your options. Due to the diversity of jobs available, it is up to you to research the specific requirements and training. Princeton University offers a good example of different career choices:
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  • Teacher - secondary school focusing on outdoor/environmental issues through literature, science, history, politics

  • Teacher working at a school with an outdoor program

  • Educator at an Environmental Center

  • Educator at an Outdoor Center

  • Management Consultant focusing on corporate challenge & development

  • Outdoor Trip Leader - Outward Bound, National Outdoor Leadership School, or similar program,

  • Program Director/Manager for outdoor center, environmental center, environmental organization, conservation group

  • Scientist - University setting, private foundation, environmental organization, state or federal government

  • Lobbyist for an environmental organization, conservation group

  • Engineer working for an environmental consulting firm, environmental organization, conservation group, state or federal government

  • Eco-friendly Building and Design through construction, architecture, etc

  • Lawyer working for an environmental consulting firm, environmental organization, conservation group, state or federal government

  • Urban Planner/Architect working on a state or local level

  • Forest Ranger working for state or federal government

  • Fund Raiser for an environmental organization, conservation group, foundation

  • Researcher for an environmental organization, conservation group

For detailed information on the various environmentally focused degrees you may want to consider, check out this resource:

Also,, a website designed for college students or recent graduates, offers these specific career ideas:
  • NJ State Park Ranger

  • Toyota Prius Advertising Associate

  • City Environmental Planner

  • ecoAmerica Project Manager

  • Energy Efficiency Technician - Southern California Edison

  • Marketing Specialist - Honeywell Energy Solutions
You can find these jobs in several different sectors:
  • State and Federal-Department of Environmental Protection, EPA, National Park Service, etc.

  • Environmental Organizations (National, State, and Local)-The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, etc.

  • Outdoor Programs (National, State, and Local)-Outward Bound, National Outdoor Leadership School, etc.

  • Private-research based on your area of interest or expertise
And, according to, you can find green companies and organizations in different industries, such as:
  • Organic foods and consumer products

  • Energy conservation

  • Renewable energy

  • Green building

  • Recycling

  • Environmental cleanup

  • Socially responsible investing

  • Sustainable tourism

  • Non-profit environmental advocacy

How do I find a green job?
There are many resources for searching for a job that works for you. Based on your interests and qualifications, you can begin looking for job postings right away! Some useful websites include: is a free resource that provides information for candidates and employers through a job board and other resources like a "Green Careers Journal" and updated information on employers, the job market, etc. Easy to use.
The online news source for Greener World Media- "the world's first and only mainstream media company focused exclusively on sustainability and the competitive edge it brings to businesses." Easy to use. Good resource for businesses or for general up-to-date environmental news. Includes a link for searching and posting resumes and jobs.
Focuses on all aspects of employment in renewable energy worldwide. Based in CA, includes resources for employers, job seekers, and general information. Easy to use if you are interested or skilled in the field of renewable energy.

An environmental directory with over 8,000 links. Access to search engines with environmental job listings-specifically by industry or region, access to search engines for internships, volunteering, and access to websites of environmental employers. Easy to use for extended searching.
"Covers environmental employment in the USA and Canada, including biology, conservation, nature/naturalists, sustainability, wildlife, consulting/management, science, engineering, government, green/eco and more." Easy to use. Good directory for someone with an environmental education/background.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 18 March 2013 )


Green Facts

  • Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used to make the material from scratch.

  • The World Health Organization estimates that 2 million people die prematurely worldwide every year due to air pollution.

  • Recycling for one year at Stanford University saved the equivalent of 33,913 trees and the need for 636 tons of iron ore, coal, and limestone.

  • A laptop consumes five times less electricity than a desktop computer.

  • If every U.S. household turned the thermostat down by 10 degrees for seven hours each night during the cold months, and seven hours each weekday, it would prevent nearly gas emissions.

  • Rainforests are being cut down at the rate of 100 acres per minute.

  • Less than 1% of electricity in the United States is generated from solar power.

  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year.

  • For every 38,000 bills consumers pay online instead of by mail, 5,058 pounds of greenhouse gases are avoided and two tons of trees are preserved.

  • Glass can be recycled over and over again without ever wearing down.

  • An aluminum can that is thrown away instead of recycled will still be a can 500 years from now!

  • Americans throw away more than 120 million cell phones each year, which contribute 60,000 tons of waste to landfills annually.

  • Every week about 20 species of plants and animals become extinct.

  • A tree that provides a home with shade from the sun can reduce the energy required to run the air conditioner and save an additional 200 to 2,000 pounds of carbon over its lifetime.

  • Recycling 100 million cell phones can save enough energy to power 18,500 homes in the U.S. for a year.

  • Americans use 100 million tin and steel cans every day.

  • You will save 300 pounds of carbon dioxide for every 10,000 miles you drive if you always keep your carís tires fully inflated.

  • Bamboo absorbs 35% more carbon dioxide than equivalent stands of trees.

  • Nudge your thermostat up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter to prevent 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

  • Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every 3 months

  • American workers spend an average of 47 hours per year commuting through rush hour traffic. This adds up to 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year.

  • Recycling 1 million laptop computers can save the amount of energy used by 3,657 homes in the U.S. over the course of a year.

  • 82 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. come from burning fossil fuels.

  • 77% of people who commute to work by car drive alone.

  • Refrigerators built in 1975 used 4 times more energy than current models.

  • It takes 6,000,000 trees to make 1 year's worth of tissues for the world.

  • You will save 100 pounds of carbon for each incandescent bulb that you replace with a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL), over the life of the bulb.

  • Current sea ice levels are at least 47% lower than they were in 1979.

  • Shaving 10 miles off of your weekly driving pattern can eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

  • Washing your clothes in cold or warm instead of hot water saves 500 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, and drying your clothes on a clothesline six months out of the year would save another 700 pounds.

  • Turning off the tap when brushing your teeth can save as much as 10 gallons a day per person.

  • One recycled aluminum can will save enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours.

  • In the United States, automobiles produce over 20 percent of total carbon emissions. Walk or bike and you'll save one pound of carbon for every mile you travel.

  • A steel mill using recycled scrap reduces related water pollution, air pollution, and mining wastes by about 70%.

  • States with bottle deposit laws have 35-40% less litter by volume.

  • A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.

  • Youíll save two pounds of carbon for every 20 glass bottles that you recycle.

  • In California homes, about 10% of energy usage is related to TVs, DVRs, cable and satellite boxes, and DVD players.

  • Due to tiger poaching, habitat destruction, and other human-tiger conflicts, tigers now number around 3,200óa decrease in population by about 70% from 100 years ago.