Green Degrees: An Environmental Education Can Lead to a Variety of Career Options

Article excerpt

OLIVIA GLENN WORKS AS A SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO NEW JERSEY'S DEPUTY commissioner for natural resources in the department of environmental protection, coordinating the development of a new state park in the city of Paterson. When she began five years ago, Glenn realized that out of approximately 400 employees, she was the only black professional in that division.

"Climate change and global warming are going to impact poor countries and people of color in a negative way," Glenn says. "We need to be aware of what's happening."

Even beyond social concerns, the green industry is becoming fertile ground for business and career opportunities. In 2006, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries created 8.5 million new jobs, and this number could grow to as many as 40 million jobs by 2030, according to the 2007 Green-Collar Jobs report conducted by the American Solar Energy Society. The green industry is noteworthy for producing jobs that are indirectly related to the environment such as graphic designers, accountants, truck drivers, and marketing managers.

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Establishing a position in the green movement can begin in the classroom. Glenn obtained an undergraduate degree in environmental studies from Dartmouth University and a master's in environmental management, with a focus in social ecology and urban community development, from Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

The University of Michigan, Boston University, the State University of New York and the University of California, Santa Barbara are also among the growing number of schools with environmental programs. …