Careers in Sustainable Development and Management

I bet you have heard about careers in sustainable development and related terms. But, maybe you are not sure what does it involve and what are the career scopes, right?

What are Sustainable Development and Sustainability?

Sustainable development is a process through which the needs of the present generation are fulfilled without compromising on the availability of natural resources and the ability of the future generation to cater to their needs.

Similarly, when we talk about sustainability, we are looking for ways to have compatibility and peaceful coexistence between the Earth’s biosphere and human civilization. The importance of sustainability has never been more pronounced or in the limelight as it is now. The year 2020 and the pandemic have been a rude shock to all of us. One of the important teachings of this past year has been to make us aware that sustainability is the way to move forward.

Careers in Sustainable Development and Management

Well, careers in sustainable development and management involve maintaining a balance of the resources in such a manner that they can be preserved for future generations and can be used by current generations as well with managerial skills. 

The application can be found in various domains such as environment, business, agriculture, society etc. with the main aim of reducing resource exhaustion.

Job Opportunities in the Sustainable Development Sector

Students pursuing sustainable development and management will study the green economy (including carbon finance), sustainable innovation, green marketing, green production, etc.

Potential job opportunities include carbon capture and offsetting, circular economy, clean water, ethical capital, green transport, renewable energy, sustainable food & agriculture, and social impact.

Popular Jobs within the Sustainable Development Sector

  • Construction Project Manager
  • Sustainability Analyst
  • Sustainable Design Professional
  • Energy Efficient Analyst
  • Operations Manager

Career Scopes in Sustainable Development and Management

Before going into the career scopes, we need to understand why sustainability is needed in the first place.

What is the Need for Sustainable Development and Management?

Would we describe the cities we live in as green? When we hear the words ‘green cities’, they conjure up images of urban centers full of trees, parks, gardens – essentially places with lots of green foliage – and, inseparable from it, bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and ponds.

These landscapes are soothing to the eyes and go as far as improving our health in terms of reducing CO2 levels, freeing the air from pollution, and creating non-toxic habitats for humans, flora, and fauna.

Nothing can be more heartening than waking up to the chirping of birds, opening the windows to let the golden sunshine in, watching squirrels frolicking in the trees, being amazed by almost-transparent dewdrops on leaves or blades of grass.

No matter how idyllic this scene is in our minds, seldom do we get to enjoy it. For, as the days go by, more and more cities are being engulfed in pollution: harmful particles in the air, toxic discharge from factories, emissions from vehicles which run on fossil fuels, chemical effluents dumped into rivers and lakes, greenhouse gases that trap heat and cause disruptions to our health, other living beings around us, our food supply, and our weather.

Over centuries, while we have made tremendous progress as a civilization, we have created cities and our planet hazardous places to live. There are moments of respite such as the clean and green cities that came back to life during the Covid-19 lockdown, but they were short-lived.

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Bringing our idyllic green cities back

This thought has not gone unnoticed. There are many among us who are conscious of the destruction of our cities and our planet. Individually (such as the youth activist Greta Thunberg), as organizations (such as the United Nations), or somewhere in between as groups and movements, people are trying to create greater awareness of these hazards and looming dangers to our cities, our environment, and our lives.

They are trying to engage us in collective discussions and action to find solutions to both short-term problems (such as Covid-19 protective masks which are recklessly thrown away and, in turn, are causing a new kind of pollution and danger to animal life), and long-term problems (such as worsening climate change leading to erratic weather conditions: bush fires in Australia, snowfall in Texas, USA).

Although environmental and climate activists are growing in number, their voice is not loud enough to be heard, nor strong enough to motivate a larger part of the global population to join a consensus against environmental degradation, climate change, and the destruction of our planet.

The media, on which we had pinned our hopes in the past, is now full of misinformation and disinformation, with groups of ‘bad actors’ pushing their own agenda against climate change in spite of evidence like rising global temperatures, bush fires, snowfalls in the unlikeliest of places on earth. Change is happening all around us and we still have hopes of reviving our favorite idyllic places, be they cities or our countryside.

Green Initiatives Led by the Youth

Fortunately, our world’s youth are taking cognizance of these facts and reaching out to each other to share thoughts, educate themselves on environmental issues, and pushing the envelope’ onto corporate organizations and governments to take corrective action and save the planet. They are seeking out information, gaining knowledge on their own initiative, and writing their own agendas for creating a cleaner, greener, better world for the future.

In tandem with these initiatives, educational institutions across the world are designing courses, preparing students, and laying foundations for careers that reinforce a new generation of students, teachers, employers, and governments to reverse the trend of apathy towards climate change and the destruction of our planet. So, we can bring our idyllic green cities back again.

Sustainability is the way to move forward

Humans by nature are very progressive and in their pursuit of economic development have at times been careless in maintaining ecological harmony. This has further led to a disbalance in our ecosystem. It is our foremost responsibility to take immediate actions to work toward learning how to incorporate the principle of sustainability in our lives.

One of the ways to attain this is through a formal learning process. As a result, there has been a growing demand for University courses on sustainability or sustainable development.

Keeping the need of the hour in mind, many colleges have come up with interesting courses in environmental sciences and sustainable development, which are basically for students who want to have a career in a green economy and who are passionate about the environment, and want to find sustainable solutions for the future.

Related Article: Top 5 Countries to Study Sustainability, Green Technology, and Renewable Energy

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Degree Programs in Sustainable Development

Top Undergraduate Programs in Sustainable Development in the UK

  • BSc (Hons) Environmental Sustainability at the University of Derby
  • BSc (Hons) in Environment and Sustainability at the University of London
  • Ecology and Sustainable Land Management BSc (Hons) at University Centre Myerscough
  • BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and Sustainability at the University of Glasgow
  • Environmental Sustainability MA (Hons) at the University of Dundee
  • Sustainable Development MA (Hons) at the University of Edinburgh
  • Environmental Management & Sustainability with Foundation Year BSc (Hons) at the University of Worcester

Top Undergraduate Programs in Sustainable Development in the USA

  • Alfred University offers a 4-year full-time BA degree in Bachelor in Environmental Sustainability.
  • The University of Florida offers a bachelor’s degree in Sustainability &the Built Environment.
  • The University of Illinois offers a bachelor’s degree in Earth, Society & Environmental Sustainability.
  • The State University of New York at Oneonta offers a BSc in Environmental Sustainability

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Featured Image Source: Conserve Energy Future

Sources: 1, 2, 3.

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