I became an environmentalist because I wanted a profession that would let me have a positive impact on the world and society. To be honest it was more than a desire to better our surroundings, but I felt it my responsibility to contribute as an agent of positive change.
I think that the definition of the ‘natural,’ has been so radically altered in our times, that my passion for this field is spurred by a fear that through the eyes of the next generation, their experience with nature will be unrecognizable again.
I chose to pursue a Bachelor of Environmental Studies . I liked the idea of an interdisciplinary program which drew concepts from several different fields. Environmental issues are found in all kinds of fields, from geology and biology to public policy and law. The course abled me to concentrate my degree in either a scientific major or policy-based major. For instance, I could have majored in biology and minored in international policy, while undertaking the same course.
A bit about the course, I had writing classes on policy and politics, on environmental journalism and interviewing, on advocacy, and on learning to communicate professionally with a variety of media when discussing environmental issues; and then too, took traditional biology classes.
Today, as an environmentalist I help the Australian public make informed decisions about the use of limited natural resources, I conduct land use research, produce reports, write articles, consult to private development firms.
My first step post university was in environmental research, where I would measure decay and its pace and patterns in various properties zoned for agricultural development, specifically I was looking to evaluate and interpret soil samples to better understand the resources and properties of a specific soil. This would allow our clients to improve agricultural production, as well as help stabilise an environment for the protection of the land during farming practice.
For many, the foot in the door requires a lot of paperwork and office work. I needed to learn the specific concerns of our clients; were they looking to sow a new crop, were they looking to develop sage, on site disposal of various wastes, were they needing to improve water retention in dry regions or even manage erosion? In this role you will need to absorb information quickly and accurately, and assist in the ongoing educational process for your clients and the wider community.
For me, specialisation happened right away, as my company’s concerns become became mine immediately.
Understanding the issues involved in environmentalism—degradation, conservation, recycling, and replenishment—is central to finding work in the environmental care and maintenance industry; but also is the understanding that money in the industry often comes from working for a privatised party seeking consultancy to use land for profitable purposes. In this sense you are required to negotiate a natural resources in a way that conflicts it’s traditional ecosystem and make sure that the land owner’s profit is conducted in a way that promotes environmental sustainability.
Today, there is a growing need to communicate environmental messages. Informing the public, private stakeholders and policy makers about environmental issues and what they can do about them is a driving force for sustainability. Both businesses and non-profit companies need researchers, and if you are a strong communicator with a passion for your issue, this field may be for you.