Keystone logo

Three Reasons to Study Environmental Management

World Wetlands Day is observed every February 2nd. Its aim? To raise global awareness of the vital role of wetlands for people and the planet. But the wetlands are just one aspect of the environment in need of protection, and many people are stepping up to address the many challenges of climate change. If you’re interested in joining the effort, understanding the impact of humans on the environment and the resources is essential. Enter the field of environmental management, AKA sustainability management. Read on for a roundup of three reasons to pursue studies in this important area.

Feb 1, 2019
  • Education
  • Student Tips
  • International News
Three Reasons to Study Environmental Management

World Wetlands Day is observed every February 2nd. Its aim? To raise global awareness of the vital role of wetlands for people and the planet. But the wetlands are just one aspect of the environment in need of protection, and many people are stepping up to address the many challenges of climate change. If you are interested in joining the effort, understanding the impact of humans on the environment and resources is essential. This is the field of environmental management, otherwise known as sustainability management.

Read on for a roundup of the top three reasons why you should study environmental management.

1. You can change the world.

We often think of what we can do to change the environment on a micro level: wow can we, as individuals, do our part? While focused on the same environmental issue, environmental studies approach it from a macro perspective: understanding the issues and learning to effect change across policy, planning, and behavior. In addition to garnering expertise in the biological and physical worlds, this also means developing an understanding of their social economic and political contexts. A master`s degree in environmental management provides the opportunity to make a real and meaningful difference in the world.

2. It’s a fascinating subject.

So we’ve established environmental management is an important field of study, but it’s also a diverse, dynamic and interesting one. In addition to climate change, other environmental management challenges include land management and urban sprawl; waste disposal; overpopulation; loss of biodiversity; pollution; water scarcity and water pollution; deforestation; ecosystems; and endangered species.

Dominik Wohlmuth, who works as an environmental manager at leading global technology and capital goods group voestalpine, says, “Working as an environmental manager is truly fascinating because the work is so varied.” Part of the company’s recycling and residual materials management team, Wohlmuth is responsible for devising new ideas for reusing residual materials, including blast furnace slag and other by-products. “I’m [] in regular contact with colleagues at the blast furnaces and in the steel plant where the residual materials are generated. That means my daily routines are never the same. And they certainly won’t be any less so in future,” Wohlmuth adds.

One example of a sustainability manager working in the very different industry of fashion is Filippa K’s Elin Larsson. She told Mochni, “I work very close with the creative director, supply chain director and the sourcing managers when it comes to all sustainability related issues, such as wool. For us it is important that sustainability is a natural part of everyone's work and our business decision. [...] Climate positive materials can be used in the future, such as material made out of greenhouse gases from the air or the water.”

Speaking of the future, environmental managers are expected to taking on increasingly important roles in sustainable business moving forward. “First, companies need to act to transform strategy, governance, and management within their boundaries. This involves creating strategies that account for disruptive change and use strategic foresight and futures thinking to embrace uncertainty and build resilience. This approach will naturally place sustainable business issues front and center -- because sustainability issues can no longer be separated from core business issues,” argues Alison Taylor, managing director of sustainability management at BSR. Workers with environmental management expertise will be positioned to lead the way.

3. Jobs within environmental management will be in demand

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for jobs for environmental scientists and specialists is strong, with a projected growth rate of 11 percent between 2016 and 2026. In addition to working in environmental management, there are many other potential job paths for people with backgrounds in this field, including environmental consulting, environmental education, public relationships, environmental engineering, fundraising, and policy analysis. That means there is also plenty of opportunity for career growth. For example, combining environmental management studies with a law degree will make you an asset for law firms and clients on environmentally related cases.

And while you can’t put a price on saving the planet and making it a better place for future generations, why not collect a decent paycheck while you are at it? The median pay for environmental scientists and specialists in 2017 was $69,400, but climbs higher with experience and expertise.

The takeaway? While there are things you can do right now as an individual to help the wetlands toward a healthier planet, there are also more profound ways to facilitate change on a bigger scale. Studies in environmental management can help you acquire the skills and knowledge you need to make a difference on a larger scale. In return, you will reap the benefits of a uniquely fulfilling career with near-endless growth potential!

Joanna Hughes

Author

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.