This career sector deals with the administrative aspect of environmental management and preservation and is one of the fastest-growing career paths in environmental science today. The environmental policy career focuses on creating a better environment by creating new environmental policies that are more suited to deal with the changing standards and demands. Through adequate research and analysis of current environmental policies and scientific data, policymakers understand what is working and what is not and make the required changes.
On the other hand, environmental planning creates programs that use land and other natural resources in a more efficient way that will not affect the surrounding environment and deal with any problem that may arise.
With the recent realisation that policies and planning are essential if we are to achieve any of our environmental goals, coupled with the increase in environmental demands that has worsened the condition of the environment, career paths in this sector has opened up considerably. A job in these sectors requires more brain than brawns as policymakers and planners usually spend more time indoors conducting research and analysing data. However, they may also spend time outdoors, usually for oversight purposes, and ensure proper implementation of the programs and policies they have created.
Duties and functions
Career paths are found in government organizations as well as in non-governmental and international organisations and usually involves tasks such as:
- Research and review of current environmental policies at different levels of government, locally, nationally, and internationally.
- Steering the public opinion on various environmental issues
- Evaluating the use of land and other natural resources to identify what is being done wrong
- Drafting management programs and policies
- Coordinating all efforts for the implementation of the programs and policies that will ensure the conservation of natural resources.
- Strategising on how best to use technology and human resources to achieve a better environment.
There are various career options available, and they include:
Engineering Geologist: Using practical and technical knowledge of three disciplines – engineering, geology, and environmental health, those who choose this career help to identify potential hazards and make recommendations on different infrastructural projects.
Environmental Economist: It is commonly claimed that the environment and the economy are two sides of a coin, always in a conflict where only one can win. However, environmental economists work to integrate environmental and economic needs into one policy and ensure that these policies solve economic problems without adverse effects on the environment. With the rise in the human population and the stress on the economy to cope with demands, it is not surprising that environmental resources are being exploited indiscriminately. Environmental economists seek to create sustainable policies that benefit the economy and the environment.
Environmental Lawyer: With laws regulating environmental practices and natural resources, there also comes disputes where such laws and regulations are broken. These lawyers specialise in resolving these conflicts, which could be due to different issues such as climate change, land tenure, pollution, hazardous waste, biodiversity, etc.
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