Going Green: 11 Awesome Earth-Friendly Jobs

Do you care about making a difference as much as you care about your career?

“Green” jobs — defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as jobs that produce goods or services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources, or jobs that use more environmentally friendly processes or fewer natural resources — have outpaced jobs in other categories by almost 250 percent over the last decade, and growth doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

The 12 in-demand jobs profiled in this article show how you can make some green — while going green.

Organic farmer

As consumers become more educated about the negative effects of chemicals and pesticides in our food supply, they are demanding healthier, safer options.

A MarketWatch study showed that the increase in demand for organic food grew a whopping 73 percent between 2004 and 2009, and the USDA confirms that demand for organically produced food continues to outgrow supply, making this a winner of a job for anyone with a “green” thumb.

Energy efficient builders/architects

It used to represent a small, niche market, but “building green” is becoming a standard among both homeowners and business owners.

As energy-efficient dwellings and LEEDS-certified buildings become the rule rather than the exception, employment opportunities for both energy efficient builders and architects will grow, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Renewable energy engineer

As fossil fuels stress our planet, demand for cleaner, more renewable energy sources — wind, solar, bioenergy, geothermal, and hydropower — grows.

If you are good at solving problems, care about the environment, are committed to social change, and have a degree in Electrical, Mechanical, or Chemical Engineering, this could be the career for you.

Automobile manufacturers/dealers

As gas prices continue to skyrocket, consumers wonder how they can get their kids to soccer practice without taking out a second mortgage on the way.

Thanks to emerging technologies, consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to how their cars are powered.

In Florida, where gas prices are over $5 per gallon, hybrid and electric vehicles are selling faster than they can be produced. Manufacturers and dealers of any vehicle that can save consumers money at the pump can expect to be very busy in the future.

Green entrepreneur

Want to help the planet while making a profit? Whether you are launching a new product or introducing a service, “ecopreneurship” is booming business.

You’ll feel great about the way you do business while also satisfying growing consumer demand.

With universities and colleges such as Yale University, George Washington School of Business in Washington, D.C., and Green Mountain College in Vermont offering MBAs in sustainable business, it’s even easier being green.

Green investment advisor

If you have an interest in the stock market or other financial areas, but also want to help people invest in socially responsible, environmentally friendly companies, this could be the career for you.

More eco-friendly investors mean more opportunity for investment advisors who specialize in environmentally focused organizations, making this a job that’s green in more ways than one.

Landscaper

Not all landscapers are created equal.

Lush, green lawns and beautifully manicured yards may look harmless, but they are often created with hazardous pesticides and chemicals, excess water, and gas-guzzling machinery.

Green landscapers use earth-friendlier methods to help reduce the negative impact that traditional landscaping has on land, water, air, and energy use.

Green business consultant

Want to help businesses succeed and also feel great about making a positive impact on the earth?

Going green is a trend that’s here to stay, and smart businesses want to keep pace with consumer demand.

If you’re a business specialist who also has extensive knowledge about environmentally safe business practices, there are plenty of other businesses that are willing to pay you — and handsomely — for your expertise.

Wind turbine/solar panel sales

You don’t need to be able to sell ice to Eskimos to succeed in this career.

Growing knowledge about the negative effects of traditional fuels, as well as exploding prices, have people more interested than ever in harnessing the wind and sun.

Progress in areas such as China and Japan mean that fuel prices won’t be dropping anytime soon, making alternative energy sales a safe bet for the foreseeable future.

Park ranger

Do you prefer the tweets of birds to the tweets of Twitter? Would you prefer to camp in front of a fire rather than in front of the Xbox?

You may be the ideal candidate to preserve and protect our national, state, and local parks.

In addition to having extensive knowledge about botany and wildlife, park rangers must have excellent wilderness skills, must be comfortable enforcing the law, and should have substantial command of first aid skills.

Urban planner

You don’t have to live in the country to go green. Urban dwellers are also getting in on the action.

Urban planners use a variety of tools to determine the impact of city challenges such as development, transportation, waste, and pollution on the environment, and make recommendations to minimize negative impact.

As long as cities are focused on sustainability, urban planners will be in high demand.

Work to make the world a better place and your future bright (green)

As fresh, green jobs brighten up a dull economy, there is more opportunity than ever for socially conscious workers to make a difference.

Whether you are in manufacturing or engineering, technology or retail, whether you are a recent grad or a business owner, focus on environmentally friendly practices means you’ll have plenty of chances to make the world a better place.

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