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Green Tech Job Revolution
By Debbie Christofferson, CISSP, CISM

During a trip to Cleveland last week, I met a young woman who was interviewing for a Biologist position. She was graduating with a BA in Environmental Science from Hiram College and her friend was pursuing environmental golf course management.

Beyond her current job search, Natalie hopes to focus on wildlife conservation. Jobs go far beyond green marketing hype and government spending.

Green Movement

Green means everything about conserving and preserving the environment, through:

  • More efficient use of natural resources (water, land, energy)
  • Alternate power sources from wind, solar or hydro (water)
  • Reduced carbon emissions of vehicles, through alternative fuels and battery use
  • Reducing, re-using and re-cycling

Today's focus is driven by the current US initiatives, and government stimulus and tax incentives to support them. It often costs more to be green and funding and investment may fall off when political powers shift.

Green Jobs

Many jobs fall independent of government handouts, and will grow regardless. The need for water is one. Many countries lack basic drinking water, and the US will face drought and water shortages for a majority of states in coming years.

Water desalination plants represent options that already exist. In a beachfront community on Mexico's Sea of Cortez, Laguna Shores built its own in Puerto Penasco. Water reclamation, preservation and reuse methods all require engineering expertise.

Technology jobs support commercial urban farming: Hydroponic and aeroponic growing system designers, and engineers who architect sophisticated farms that maximize productivity in small spaces. Solar panels and windmills will also be used to power vertical growing systems. ("Can Farming Save Detroit", By David Whitford, Fortune magazine, 1/18/10).

Many countries govern pollution and emissions. Growing eWaste mandates fit into IT initiatives.

Green IT

In IT, green data centers and virtualization are focused on big money savings and efficiency in power, water, and facility use. IT also seeks to reuse and donate technology assets that are still usable.

Disposal and recycling of electronics products presents a huge opportunity. Electronic waste-within and beyond IT-- is the fastest growing segment of "trash".

Technology Job Opportunities

Technology is behind many green jobs: Solar and wind energy, green construction, urban farming, and high voltage electric grids and management.

In small business, a local woman and former CPA-Debra Johnson leads Eco-Edge LLC-a technology company that tests and certifies that green claims and capabilities are true.

Promising green business start-ups are attracting capital investment especially in the energy space. Any search will turn up potential jobs anywhere in the US across sectors:

  • Building architect / designer
  • Chief sustainability officer
  • College professor
  • Director of air quality
  • Director of environmental planning
  • Energy auditor
  • Energy services technical sales
  • Environmental health & safety coordinator
  • Environmental engineer, designer and consultant
  • Geologist
  • Geotechnical and geothermal engineer
  • Landscape architect / designer
  • Project engineer
  • Project manager
  • Software engineer to build products that monitor and report power use
  • Researcher
  • Wastewater engineer / consultant
  • Water Resources Office Manager
  • Wind farm design / construction

Choices

Aside from the obvious installers and manufacturers for solar, water or landscaping and design solutions, most jobs won't come with a "green" tag. Your choices:

  • Choose employment with a company that is environmentally aware and focused, or one that designs, produces, sells or implements products or services that directly support a green theme
  • Work for utility companies, mining organizations, automotive battery businesses, electronic recyclers, or those who will be directly engaged in protecting the environment and natural resources.
  • Complete a degree for a green career
  • Create a business plan and start your own business
  • Assemble a group of ambassadors and launch your own program within your current business

Ohio has strong initiatives like many states. For example, Ohio's Academy of Science sponsors an annual undergraduate scholarship for environmental science and engineering college majors.

You can seek conservation of wetlands, waterways, shorelines and protecting species-overfishing is a major issue in many parts of the world. Within water, solar, land and wind industries and systems, environmental and engineering expertise are required.

Conclusion

Create your own green career or work for any company that focuses on the environment or sustainability. You can also make your own job and company greener, while saving money and the environment.

For the full Green Tech Job Pocket Guide, send email to DebbieChristofferson@earthlink.net

COMING NEXT: Toxic Technology Terms

Best Regards, Debbie Christofferson. CISSP,CISM


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