7 Ways to Advocate for the Environment

7 Ways to Advocate for the Environment was originally published on Idealist Careers.

With global environmental crises in the news lately, a lot of us are wondering how we can make a difference. There are many ways to advocate for a livable planet, whether you’re doing a few hours of volunteer work or committing to a career. We’ve highlighted seven growing fields looking for new talent.

1. Legal advocacy

Thinking about a law degree? Environmental law is a hot niche field, and like any area of legal practice, it requires some serious study. You’ll learn how corporations defend their interests, how protests and lobbying can make a difference, and how to educate the public. If you’re not planning to be a practicing attorney, law firms often need communications, business, and public relations professionals.

2. Research and data analysis

We use environmental data all the time, from tracking the weather and analyzing carbon emissions to observing changes in wildlife populations and determining human “environmental footprints.” Data analysts work hard to keep the public informed and present the figures in a way that makes sense.

This field often requires specialized training in computer science, software engineering, or natural resource management, but field experience may make up for education in some positions.

3. Food security and agriculture

The world population is growing and everyone needs to be fed, even when climate crises strike, so nutrition and agriculture will continue to be high-demand fields in the next several years.

Public health professionals, biologists, economists, and social scientists can help meet this growing need, but if you have experience in farming, plant and crop growing, or large animal health, you’re needed too. Many organizations also seek volunteers to carry out large-scale initiatives.

4. Transportation

Reducing dependence on the fossil fuel industry means rethinking our transportation, particularly in the car-heavy United States. Whether you’re interested in public education, policy analysis, data collection, or team management, you can find a spot in the growing alternative transit industry.

Here are some organizations that focus on research and best practices:

5. Water preservation

Clean water is a critical health and human rights issue around the world. Water.org estimates almost one million people die each year from causes related to lack of safe water access.

You can get involved on the local or national level as a public health professional, grassroots activist, researcher, educator, and more.

6. Animals and wildlife

Animal lovers can definitely turn their passion into a career helping the earth. If you’re studying biology, zoology, ecology, veterinary science, or a related field, you might want to pursue working with wildlife. While research-heavy positions usually require a bachelor’s or graduate degree, other jobs in zoos or national parks may look for experience over education.

7. Parks, trails, and public spaces

Outdoors enthusiasts, hiking aficionados, and people who enjoy working with the public can get involved in their local parks and recreation departments. If you’re studying hospitality, nature preservation, community engagement, or other relevant topics, you can find a career niche. And there are often opportunities for volunteers to staff major events or join clean-up efforts.

Many cities and regions across the United States have public land they’re dedicated to preserving for everyone’s (usually) free enjoyment. There’s likely to be a parks and recreation center near you. We’ve highlighted a few across the country:

  • Southwest: Tucson, AZ Western National Parks Association
  • Great Plains (South): Topeka, KS Kansas Recreation and Park Association
  • Great Plains (North): Minneapolis, MN Voyageurs National Park Association
  • Northeast: Portland, ME Portland Parks Conservancy

You don’t have to reroute your career to help sustain the planet. No matter what field you’re in you can encourage environmentally sustainable practices in your current workplace and make eco-friendly choices in your daily life.

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How do you advocate for the environment? Share your experience with us.

By Amy Bergen - Idealist Careers
Idealist Careers
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