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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Earth Talk: Eco-Friendly Jobs

Dear EarthTalk: I’m looking for a job and would like to find a position at a company that is either marketing a green product or service or that is seriously trying to improve its ecological “footprint”. Where do I look?

With just about every company trying to green its products, services and internal operations these days, there has never been a better time to find a green job. Jobs in eco-advocacy and in “hands on” environmental work such as pollution cleanup and land use planning are more abundant than ever. Green issues are driving the creation of new jobs in many other vocations as well.

E – The Environmental Magazine reported recently (Nov/Dec 2007 issue) that some of the hottest sectors for new green jobs right now are travel and hospitality, planning and land use, alternative health and medicine, renewable energy, environmental law, information technology, environmental education, design and construction, corporate responsibility, and food and farming. Those with experience in any of these fields should find plenty of opportunities that can help marry their skills with their green principles.

Analysts point to the alternative and renewable energy sector as offering perhaps the most opportunities. “Solar and wind are already multibillion-dollar industries,” says Peter Beadle, who launched the website in 2005. Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies also offer many opportunities, he says. Technical personnel—engineers, installers, etc.—form the backbone of such industries, but marketing, sales and communications specialists are needed to get the technologies to market.

Congress also wants to make sure that there are green jobs for disadvantaged and disenfranchised Americans. In August 2007 the House of Representatives passed the Green Jobs Act as a vehicle to use the green economy as a “pathway out of poverty.” The bill calls for spending $125 million for job training in renewable energy, energy-efficient vehicles and green building. One-fifth of the money would be earmarked for those most difficult to hire: at-risk youths, former inmates and welfare recipients.

The Senate passed a similar bill earmarking $100 million for “green collar” job training in various sectors of the economy. Both bills have been rolled into the larger Energy Bill recently passed by the House and now under consideration by the Senate. If the bill passes, President Bush could still veto it, in which case its sponsors would likely reintroduce the green jobs provisions once a new administration takes office.

Regardless of what comes out of Washington, green job seekers should have no trouble ferreting out good opportunities on their own. Checking in with the websites and human resources departments of companies you already know and patronize is a good strategy. There are also dozens of websites that post green job opportunities, including,,,,,, and

Got an Environmental Question? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at:, or email: [email protected]. Read past columns at:

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