Published on September 11, 2018
How To Turn Your Passion For The Environment Into A Career
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Do you care about the environment? Have a knack for problem-solving? Want to make a difference? Well, a career in environmental science might be for you!
As Australians, we are constantly bombarded with environmental crises like drought, climate change, and how many seasons Melbourne’s weather goes through in a day. We are growing increasingly aware of our environmental impact, with plastic bag bans, paper straws and keep cups on the rise. Likewise, the need for environmental scientists and professionals that can research and create solutions to environmental problems is more vital than ever.
What Is Environmental Science?
Environmental science is concerned with understanding how the natural world works; how humans interact with and affect the environment, and how we can deal with these effects. This includes the study of physical, chemical and biological conditions of the environment and their relationship between human activities and organisms.
This is a problem-solving science, with environmental scientists rarely ever just studying the natural environment but constantly working towards solving environmental challenges caused by our interactions with the earth.
Dealing with these problems can range from consulting with a construction team to minimize sediment pollution from their work, determining the extent of pollution of a landfill, to designing a restoration plan for a national park.
The major focus for all these projects is sustainability. Addressing this concept is vital to not only protect and conserve the environment but make sure that we do not deplete natural resources or damage the environment to the extent that future generations will not be able to live here. At the rate we are going, we will need the resources of 2 entire planet earth to meet our consumption and waste levels by mid-2030. But we only have one!
of natural resources are used per Australian annually
The importance of environmental concern in 2018 is evident in several issues Australians are currently being hit with. The Great Barrier Reef is a hot topic in the news, with the debate surrounding the Federal Government’s questionable allocation of $444 million to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. As the largest coral reef on Earth and one of the natural wonders of the world, there has been concern for the environmental pressures on the Great Barrier Reef, mostly caused by human activities. Coral bleaching, pollution, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and overfishing are all major threats to the reef system’s health. These threats are addressed by means of preservation and restoration, protecting the reef by limiting human use, analyzing, managing and reporting research on the Great Barrier Reef.
Moving inland from the environmental issues at Australia’s seas is the rising pressure on the farming and agricultural industry. While drought has always been a problem with farmers and crop/livestock yield, climate change has heavily contributed to the increased intensity of weather conditions. This year marked Australia’s driest July since 2002, with rainfall half the average. Due to this, Queensland and NSW have been wracked with drought. NSW has recently been declared 100% in drought, with 77% affected and 23% experiencing intense conditions. With NSW being one of the largest producers and exporters of most crops in Australia, the continuation of such unfavourable conditions will have an impact not only on the wellbeing and livelihoods of farmers, but by loss of economic revenue and growth.
With the prevalence of these and so many other environmental issues, the demand for more environmentally conscious practices at both an individual and international level is rising, and so too the demand for jobs in environmental science. So, what does an environmental science job involve? There is no one cookie-cutter mold for a career in environmental science – the options and pathways are limitless.
What Is The Industry Like?
Environmental scientists use their knowledge to protect the environment and human health. They investigate environmental or health problems to identify their causes and (hopefully) solutions, by developing strategies or making recommendations to manage environmental problems.
Daily activities an environmental scientist can expect are:
- Analyzing data/info – 90% important
- Processing info – 92% important
- Making decisions and solving problems – 86% important
- Thinking creatively – 80% important
A typical workday for an environmental scientist can vary depending on where you are within the broad scope of the industry. You could be working as a horticulturist, meteorologist, or soil scientist. Duties you could be tasked with include natural resource management and environmental planning, working alongside government departments or local councils to ensure public health, sustainable practices, address pressing environmental issues or all the above.
And if the idea of being cooped up 9-5 in an office doesn’t excite you, don’t worry! A career in environmental science can lead to an array of work conditions; indoors in a lab, outdoors doing fieldwork, from home, travelling around the world, or a mix of all the above.
Industries You Can Choose From:
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
- Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
- Public Administration and Safety
- Soil Science
- Government Agencies
- Resource Management
- Earth Science
- Research and Education
- Marine Science
Career Outcomes Include:
- Conservation Officer
- Environmental Consultant, Adviser, Auditor or Officer
- Environmental Research Scientist
- Park Ranger
- Agricultural Biotechnologist
- Soil Scientist
- Horticultural Scientist
- Urban and Environmental Planner
With so many roles to choose from, the employment opportunities are endless!
You can also check out Ben’s inspiring story about how he started his sustainable food company here. Or you can watch his video below:
Not only are these careers fulfilling, but the future job growth and salary also speak for themselves, in how important these roles are in our current job market.
You can read more about Meg’s career in horticulture or watch her video below.
is the Average Weekly Pay
Future Job Growth Predicted
Estimated Job Openings in the Next 5 Years
of workers are female
The average worker age is
40 years old
What Does It Take To Have A Career In Environmental Science?
Important skills you will need
- Reading Comprehension – 82% important
- Science – 82% important
- Active Learning – 80% important
- Critical Thinking – 80% important
- Complex Problem Solving – 80% important
Apart from these skills, to become an environmental scientist it is essential to have the correct qualifications. These jobs usually require a diploma, bachelor’s degree or higher, ranging from a Bachelor of Science, research degrees postgraduate study. Don’t have any of these under your belt? Don’t worry about entry requirements, high school atars and grades won’t impede on your pursuit of a career in the real world. With our large selection of courses to choose from, we’ve got you covered.
Your study options are at the tip of your fingers.
So, what’s stopping you? Start your career, saving the environment now!
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