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College & Career

Top 10 Jobs That Save the Planet

White-collar workers, blue-collar workers, and now green-collar workers? The Obama administration has promised to spend $150 billion over the next 10 years to create five million green-collar jobs. For all of you undergraduates and college grads pursuing careers, here are the 10 most interesting up-and coming-eco-friendly jobs.

1. Geotourism/ecotourism

According to the National Geographic Society, “geotourism” means tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics and heritage as well as the well-being of its residents. This is a great option for people interested in the tourism and the hospitality business. Check out Ecotourjob to find job positions from a conservationist to an ecotourism coordinator.

2. Green building/LEED certification

Always loved playing with LEGOs? Perhaps you’re an architect major searching for your specialty. Build structures that are functional and don’t have a negative impact on the environment. Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the execution process. Go ahead and design the ultimate self-sufficient office building or community.

Take a look at the Organic Architect Company or The American Institute of Architects for more information.

3. Green lawyers

Someone has to speak for the trees besides the Lorax, right? Our environment needs a lawyer too. Earth Justice has made a lot of legislative progress for the environment in the last 10 years. Check out their website to see how you can make a difference.

4. Eco-cosmetics

For you beauty fanatics, there are many cosmetic brands that have started organic and green lines. Cargo makes PaintLove, a natural and organic line sold at Sephora. For a more affordable option, Physicians Formula has a line called Organic Wear sold at various drug stores. There is also Burt’s Bees, which has continuously made environmentally friendly products.

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5. Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

When considering all of the paper and plastic bottles used in corporate offices, it’s important that each company contributes to recycling and conserving resources. A company that practices good CSR would be essentially adhering to the triple bottom line of reaching goals that equally value “people, planet and profit.” Nike has a great CSR program; learn more about it here.

6. Eco-friendly dining

Think about all of the trash that accumulates from the food we eat everyday, from our leftovers to the plastic containers and sandwich wrappers used for food packaging. By working in this industry, you can ensure the food we eat is organic and that restaurants are using eco-friendly means of distributing foods. Check out the Green Restaurant Association for available jobs in this field. If you are interested in the culinary arts, you can also start cooking organic or looking into organic farming. Get acquainted with your roots, literally.

7. Organic food merchandising

Customers want to know what they’re consuming, and the demand for healthy, organic food is on the rise. Many local farmers markets, as well as grocery stores, are selling organic goods. The grocery store Whole Foods provides high-quality organic food and believes in the importance of giving back to the earth. From the packaging to the food itself, everything is environmentally friendly. If you are a foodie, look into a job at there or at Trader Joe’s.

8. Eco-friendly clothing

If your ambitions include a career in the fashion industry, you can become involved in creating, promoting or merchandising clothes that not only look great, but help the environment as well. Many companies are looking for innovative ways to set them apart from competitors, and being green is key to making the clothes of the future. Velvet Leaf is a company that is all about creating fashion-forward, organic, sustainable designs.  Also check out Patagonia, which makes organic outdoor clothing and gear.

9.     Conservation

Help preserve what is left of the Amazon and discover the effect of invasive species in your own backyard. A conservation biologist focuses on preserving and researching biodiversity. Learn more about this industry at the Society for Conservation Biology, which posts listings for a range of jobs, from field biologist/ecologist to water resources analyst.

10. Interior design

Perhaps you’ve always had an eye for which fabrics and patterns match and what type of china looks best with a deep mahogany table. Green interior design brings creative designing to the next level by incorporating green products. The American Society for Interior Designs is a good resource for learning how to create “eco-designs” that help conserve energy and natural resources.

Check out our current issue: Resilience ISSUE

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