Saving the environment and your bank account one “green job” at a time

 I’ve been doing a lot of contemplating lately as I try to pin down exactly what I want to do with my life.  Through my self-evaluations and the “assistance” of numerous time-consuming yet worthless online career profile quizzes, I have been analyzing my passions and skills in hopes of determining that one perfect career that was practically designed for me.  I have experienced feelings of anxiety, confusion, and frustration as I have mulled over detailed career descriptions and job prospect reports, and I still haven’t figured it out quite yet. 

Therefore, in light of my own circumstances and the current employment issues across the nation, I would like to take this opportunity to explore “green jobs.”  My hope is that this blog entry will allow my fellow Paladins to relate to and learn from my pursuit of academic direction. 

One of the first things that I evaluate when considering a career path is job security.  In the next decade, will the job market be more favorable for a communication studies major or a Spanish major?  Which occupational fields will be begging for more workers, and which ones will be dropping them by the hundreds?  Well, for those who are entering the workforce and considering the sustainability field, there’s good news.  In Obama’s State of the Union Address just last week, he stated that “the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy, and America must be that nation.”  With both the economy and the environment in such dire conditions, Obama recognizes the need for America to invest in energy technology and other sustainable measures, and has made clear that, for this reason, his administration will focus on the creation of “green jobs.”  “Well,” one might say, “what about the unemployed people who aren’t scientists and, therefore, can’t take up one of these ‘green jobs?’”   

I’ve “known” since my middle school years that I hated science and absolutely did not ever want to work in a science-related field.  To my surprise, however, I’ve been able to apply my seemingly non-science-related interests and abilities in a number of ways as a Bank of America Sustainability Fellow.  For example:

  • As a Fellow, a couple of my duties have included contributing to this blog and proofreading official Shi Center documents, both of which have revealed my passion for writing.  I could be an environmental journalist. 
  • I have studied Spanish for over three years.  My foreign language studies could be used to convey sustainable innovations and concepts to leaders and citizens of Spanish-speaking countries. 
  • My interest in communication studies will aid in the publicity of future sustainability events on campus.  I could go into public relations and work for a sustainability-related company. 
  • I am currently taking my first education course at Furman.  My interest in education could afford me the opportunity to teach ideas of sustainability to younger generations.

According to the United Nations Environment Program, “green jobs” are defined as “positions in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance, as well as scientific and technical, administrative, and service-related activities that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality.”  As I mentioned before, I’m not much of a scientist.  However, as I have learned from my own experiences and as the UNEP definition makes clear, one doesn’t have to be an expert ecologist to play a role in furthering sustainability in his or her community.  My interests in writing, Spanish, communication studies, and education could all potentially relate to sustainability in one way or another.  In what ways could your interests lead you to pursue a “green job?”

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