Urban farmers grow and produce food within or around heavily populated areas (towns and cities). It's not to be confused with community gardening, homesteading, or subsistence farming, which are more hobbyist interests. Urban farmers produce food on an industrial scale to be sold to local shops, restaurants, markets, or directly to consumers. Many urban farms also run education initiatives to teach young people about traditional farming practices, and the need for a more sustainable approach to growing and consuming food. Curtis Stone, for example, operates an urban farm outside of Kelowna city in British Columbia, Canada. Curtis and his small team grow over $75,000 worth of organic food within an eight-month period using less than half an acre of land.
Green fashion design
The fashion industry is responsible for over one billion tonnes of greenhouse gases every year; that's almost 10% of the world's carbon footprint. Now a new breed of socially conscious designers is working hard to make fashion eco-friendly. Fashion designer Eileen Fisher only uses organic materials, minimizes the number of microfibres in her designs, and recycles old garments and textiles. Then there's UK-based designer Katie Jones. Her 'waste not' philosophy includes picking up unclaimed and discarded materials from apparel manufacturers. She then transforms these throwaway fabrics into wearable artisanal collections.
Sustainable fashion is also going mainstream. Stella McCartney is one of the biggest names to fully embrace ethical fashion design. McCartney's sustainable fashion strategy includes a commitment to using organic cotton, ethically sourced wool, and recycled textiles. She also excludes fur and leather from her lines, while all McCartney's high-street stores are solar-powered.
Wave producers are engineers and technicians who create technologies to harness the energy generated by sea tides. Although still very much in its infancy, the tidal and wave power industry has enormous long-term potential. Experts believe tidal power could one day produce up to 20% of energy needs in windy and coastal countries such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
Israeli company Eco Wave Power is one company leading the way in this innovative field. Its coastal energy generators create clean energy through a hydraulic piston system powered by incoming waves. The generators, called floaters, are controlled and monitored by a smart automation system that adjusts the floaters’ positioning depending on the size and force of the waves. It means the floaters can create a consistent flow of energy, solving one of the major issues that have prevented mainstream adoption of wave power.
Sustainability consultants are responsible for making companies and organizations more energy-efficient. They also play a vital role in ensuring their employers are up-to-date and compliant with the latest environmental and energy regulations. Energy and sustainability consultancy is a rapidly growing field that shows no signs of slowing down. Almost every major company now employs sustainability consultants, and they're offering generous salaries to attract and retain the best candidates. Junior and graduate roles start at around $30,000, while senior consultants can make as much as $70,000 a year. Freelance consultants can earn even more. There's less job security in freelancing, but it offers more opportunities to work remotely or take on shorter-term contracts in different locations and at a variety of exciting organizations.
Green construction is the practice of creating and maintaining sustainable structures using environmentally responsible processes throughout a building's lifecycle. In other words, it's about constructing buildings that are eco-friendly in the short and long term. This new industry requires designers, consultants, tradespeople, architects, and safety officers who understand these critical principles.
Green construction is another booming field with massive growth potential. Many commentators believe it could also play a central role in powering the post-Covid-19 global economic recovery. Dan Lashof is the director of the US branch of the World Resources Institute, which is campaigning for greener post-pandemic recovery packages. He says, "creating buildings with energy efficiency and climate resilience technology would employ a huge number of people. Plus, retro-fitting hospitals, schools, and low-income housing would also create tens of thousands of jobs."
Recruitment specialists expect to see a 10% increase in demand for environmental scientists over the next decade, and it's easy to see why. The UN's ambitious agenda 2030 program aims to provide affordable and clean energy to almost everyone on the planet within the next ten years. Agenda 2030 also plans to build sustainable smart cities in developed nations. All this will require an army of environmental scientists with the skills and knowledge to implement these initiatives and monitor important metrics, such as sea levels, CO2 emissions, and average temperatures. Climate scientists will also be at the forefront of educating the public, encouraging everyone to adopt and maintain a sustainable lifestyle.
A 2019 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) found 1 in 3 people don't have access to safe drinking water. Many of these people are located in third-world nations. If you would like to help address this inequality, then you might want to consider a career in hydrology. Hydrologists are scientists that manage, monitor, and protect water, as well as water resources. They also use data analytics and computer modeling to design strategies to improve clean water access and distribute water resources equitably.
At the moment, there aren't many hydrology-specific undergraduate degrees. Instead, hydrologists often have a life sciences or engineering background. Most also have a postgraduate qualification in a relevant field, such as environmental management or flood risk management. Depending on where you want to work, you may need to pass some industry-specific certification exams. However, you will be rewarded for your efforts. Experienced hydrologists earn between $60,00 to $100,000 a year.
A conservationist is one of the most rewarding green jobs. These dedicated professionals protect wildlife from the adverse effects of climate change. They also advocate for animal rights and local ecosystems, encouraging corporations and governments to find the right balance between development, economic growth, and protecting the earth for future generations. Conservation roles are highly competitive.
As well as getting a relevant undergraduate degree, it is also useful to have volunteering experience. You can find volunteering opportunities through your university or via organizations like Concordia Volunteers. Some of Concordia's current projects include spending summers at monkey rescue centers in Africa or protecting archeological sites in Europe. If you haven't got the financial resources to travel abroad, look into the growing number of remote or virtual volunteering projects. They look great on your CV and show potential employers you are serious about a career in conservation
The constant warnings about climate change can leave us feeling depressed, and maybe even a little hopeless. However, the emergence and continuing growth of the eco-economy is a cause for genuine optimism. It suggests the future is not only looking bright; it's also looking very green...