Call it a triple threat: A great job that pays well, makes you feel good about what you do, and your work will leave the world a better place for our children. It’s a green career, or green job. As the planet is heating up so are are the prospects for those who want to build careers that are clean, green, meaningful and make a difference.
GREEN CAREERS DEFINED
But what exactly is a green career? The actual definition of what constitutes a green job can be a bit tricky. In general, however, a green career is exactly what you might think it is. It’s working in an industry that is focused on building an environmentally friendly infrastructure. It means producing goods and providing services that deliver value without damaging the environment. It also means finding new ways of cleaning up and improving the environment.
MULTIFACETED GREEN INDUSTRIES
An excellent example is the exploding solar power industry. The price of solar energy is falling so rapidly it has industry analysts using terms like “astounding,” “amazing,” and “unprecedented.” As the price of solar energy drops, demand increases. That means burgeoning job opportunities in a field that is becoming more than just a niche player in the gigantic energy sector.
The numbers and kinds of green careers in solar are many and growing, reports the SEIA, the Solar Energy Industry Association. Solar engineers,electricians and solar technicians are finding growing demand for their skills. Installers of solar panels and solar-water heating systems is another example. Working in a solar panel assembly factory, or even working as a solar equipment sales professional all constitute examples of green careers.
GREEN SKILL CAN ALSO BE NON-TECHNICAL
But a green career doesn’t necessarily have to be highly technical. For example, if you have a green thumb you can land an excellent green job in growing and/or marketing organic foods. One of the hottest trends in this field is establishing rooftop gardens atop buildings in urban areas. Also, the establishment of community gardens and helping to develop farmer’s markets to distribute and sell locally produced organic foods is a job someone needs to do.
Among the biggest growth trends among green careers is happening within the recycling industry, says the The Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Again, there are many facets to recycling as it continues to develop into an ever more complex model. That means gathering materials, shipping, sorting, and the actual recycling process itself. All this translates into green jobs in everything from engineering, technical and mechanical work, to driving a truck or manufacturing recycling bins.
MAJOR GREEN PLAYERS
According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, other major sectors that can be considered green career sectors include building, selling and servicing wind turbines; working in hydroelectric power; installing home insulation and weatherization; energy auditing, planting trees and much more.
Keep in mind that green careers are increasingly encompassing some of our most time-honored professions. Electricians, plumbers and carpenters, for example, are on the front line of installing new kinds of energy systems. Construction workers, building inspectors and industrial engineers are retooling their skill sets to focus on new kinds of building materials, energy sources and design specifications.
It’s clear that green careers are more than a trend. A green job points the way to green cash because of the enormous environmental challenges we face as we strive to maintain economic growth. If we want continued growth, that growth must be green — and that means green careers.