Today, word like sustainability and conservation have become part of our culture. It’s taken long enough, but environmentalism has gone beyond being just a social movement – it’s become a fundamental, legitimate ideology that affects many parts of life. Living green is a consideration when it comes to both building and operating homes and offices, not to mention how we power and operate them. But it also impacts businesses, lifestyles, and the choices of groups and individuals. The environment has become not only an industry but a philosophy. And for teachers or people studying to become teachers, this means a greater range of options for being involved in training the next generation of leaders in environmental issues and skills. Who is going to train students for the future? If you have a passion for both teaching and the environment, it could be you.
1. Training Programs – Building Construction and Operations
More and more colleges are offering training programs for jobs in construction, contracting, and architecture that have a green slant. This can include how to build with environmentally-safe materials or install solar panels or green roofs, or even general classes on energy conservation, LED lighting, and how to keep a building operating with environmental concerns in mind. Many people who already have a background in urban planning or architecture find themselves interested in combining their skills with a passion for green living. The construction of environmentally friendly buildings is a relatively new industry, so knowledgable people are always in demand.
2. Training Programs – Lifestyle and Business Sustainability
College courses on environmental living are becoming more common, with courses that focus on what an individual can do in their everyday life to help the environment. Courses on planning green events, launching green businesses, or workshops on urban farming are available in many big city universities. There are also a lot of training courses students can take to prepare themselves to work at an environmental non-profit organization. But the main focus of these environmental training programs is to show students how green living can work for them, because education is always the first step towards substantial change.
3. Degree Programs
You can begin your path to a career in green education through the most obvious way – getting an undergraduate degree in environmental studies or environmental science. But there are more options than ever for other areas of study such as environmental technology, energy services technology, and civil engineering. In fact, many different majors in science and engineering now involve courses that have to do with environmental issues and sustainability. All it takes is a masters in education for you to turn your focus into a teaching career, and you could be teaching the same kind of subjects that inspired you were you were a student.
4. Teaching Outside of College
It makes sense that the majority of green education would take place at the college level, but there are more unconventional places to teach programs about the environment. Zoos, botanical gardens, state parks, and wildlife sanctuaries can all offer training and education when it comes to the kind of environmental issues that directly impact what they do. Often, you will still need a degree to teach in environments like these because they employ teachers with a certain expertise to inform the public and even train new workers. But the best education degrees will lead you to helping others develop a passion for what you’re passionate about.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that jobs in environmental science will increase by nearly 20 percent in the next decade. And the production of renewable energy including wind and solar has grown by 75 percent since the start of the 21st century. The green industry can have a huge impact on the economy and change the way we think about other industries essential to society. Universities across the country are expanding their environmental departments and providing more opportunities for green degrees every year. Students are interested in learning about the environment and how they can make a difference in the changing world around them. If you care about the environment, you have likely been inspired to make a difference too. Becoming an educator could be the perfect way to do that, in a way that is guaranteed to impact green living for a long time to come.
Amy Nielson is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @NielsonAmy.