An Environmental Science Degree: An Investment In The Future

An Environmental Science Degree: An Investment In The Future – The world is changing faster now than at any time since the last ice-age 10,000 years ago and the major cause of that change is man. To allow the changes to continue unchecked is reckless at the least. Monitoring those changes and being able to convince others that we have to do or not do activities that affect the environment will take well qualified people with the relevant environmental science degree.

It has often been said that the education offered in colleges and universities are a direct response to the job market and the trends therein. If this is so then the future for professionals with an environmental science degree could not be much brighter.

After the industrial and the informational age, we are quickly entering the environmental age, where the environment and its characteristics are of paramount importance.

Never before, as a society, have we paid real attention to the environment and many would argue we still do not pay enough attention. Continuous exploitation of the earths natural resources and constant generation of heat and waste products have caused significant damage to the environment.

We live in an age where knowing, understanding and adapting to the environment is no longer a choice – it is the only way ahead. This age demands qualified professionals, especially those with professional environmental science degrees.

A number of allied degrees find their place alongside conventional environmental science degrees. Big business has, for a long time, been required to comply with safety and industrial security requirements. In industries like biotechnology, due to the nature of the products, there are numerous opportunities for disaster.

Disaster management and hazardous material management are fields of study that are very much in demand by today’s high technology industries. While often these studies are not comprehensive enough to be offered as science degrees by themselves, these courses are more often than not partnered with environmental science degrees as part of a package deal.

For the environmental science degree student, it can be an advantage. While pursuing their main course of study, they can get qualifications in a number of allied fields. This makes them thorough professionals and capable of entering a wide range of industries when they graduate with their environmental science degree.

As a result of the long-standing lobbying activities, the United States is home to some of the worlds largest and best funded environmental groups and many professionals, working for these groups, have environmental science degrees.

Jobs exist with government bodies, lobbying positions with political groups and corporate organizations, research positions with foundations and other research organizations. More opportunities exist in the environmental safety departments of leading oil majors and even faculty positions at colleges offering environmental science degrees. They all offer lucrative positions that professionals with an environmental science degree can hope to secure.

An environmental science degree does not deal with environmental topics alone. Due to the very nature of their work, professionals who acquire an environmental science degree need to be equipped with allied subjects like compliance, law, criminal justice, and public communication.

The courses of study that ultimately lead to a environmental science degree are varied and interesting. Someone with an environmental science degree is likely to be tasked with protecting our environment as a result we need the very best!

Entry-Level Jobs in the Environmental Field

Entry-Level Jobs in the Environmental Field – With the growing number and the complexity of environmental regulations throughout the world, especially in the United States, more environmental jobs are showing up on the horizon in both private and government sectors. Environmental field varies widely from the environmental policy lawyers to the environmental technicians.

The environmental technician and the environmental laboratory analyst are some of the entry-level jobs that don’t require college education or professional training. Environmental technician’s job normally involves collecting samples at various monitored locations, like the water bodies, gas stacks and/or the waste streams from manufacturing operations. One can expect to find this type of job either at the environmental firm working for private or government sector or manufacturing facilities in private sector. Normally this type of job requires undergoing safety training, provided by the company. No specific environmental training is usually required.

The position of the environmental laboratory analyst might require a college diploma, like a chemistry degree, but not necessarily. This type of job involves working at the chemical laboratory running chemical analysis on samples collected by the environmental technician and entering them into company’s computerized reporting system or reporting them directly to the higher management. This position involves working with various solid and liquid materials, solvents and other chemicals. The company will provide you with safety training specific to the nature of chemicals and other safety hazards specific to the job. Wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) like goggles, gloves, etc might be a requirement and is normally provided by the company. No specific environmental training is required for this position.

In some cases, usually in small companies, the position of the environmental technician and the environmental laboratory analyst might be combined into one job.

Junior (Engineer-in-Training) Environmental Engineer is an entry-level position for a new college graduate with Bachelor degree in either the environmental, civil or chemical engineering. Junior engineer works on the projects under the supervision of another engineer or a manager. This is a good time to take Engineer-In-Training (EIT) exam, which is a requirement for the Professional Engineer (PE) certification. No specific environmental training is required for this position.

In most cases no environmental training is required for the entry-level positions in the environmental field, but due to the competitive job market now days, it’s always a good idea to get a feel about the company you’re interested in working for and do your research ahead of time. What sort of issues your potential employer might be faced with on the environmental front or what environmental regulations do they have to comply with?

Shelf-Life of an Environmental Statement

Shelf-Life of an Environmental Statement – In the UK the planning application for certain development projects needs to be supported by an environmental statement. This environmental statement describes the outcome of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) investigating the environmental effects that the development proposals would have.

The recent economic downturn has led to the postponement of many development projects. Many of those where in an advanced stage with regard to applying for planning consent. Now that the economic prospects have stabilised many of these projects have been picked up again. Some EIA development projects were postponed shortly before registering the application for planning consent and the environmental statement may already be in an advanced state. In these situations the developer faces a question about the validity of the environmental statement: is the information in the environmental statement still up to date and do the conclusions still reflect the most accurate prediction of the environmental impacts. Clearly in cases where the development proposals have changed significantly a new environmental impact assessment or at least a thorough review of the original environmental statement, may be required. But what if the proposal itself hasn’t changed. Would the environmental statement still be valid?

Preparing a robust environmental statement is based on an often lengthy environmental impact assessment. To understand the environmental impacts of a particular development project it is necessary to understand the characteristics of the development itself as well as the characteristics of the environment that the development where the development will be located. It is the interaction between the development and its environment that determines the environmental impact. A thorough study of the current environmental situation, the environmental baseline, is therefore an essential step in carrying out an environmental impact assessment.

The environmental baseline is not a static situation. Many environmental aspects can change and additional information may become available. The ecological baseline, for instance, can be very dynamic. An ecological survey carried out three or four years ago, may have concluded that no important species were present on the site. Since the survey date species may have migrated in. The baseline may also have changed because other development proposals did proceed and are now implemented potentially bringing new sensitive receptors in the vicinity of the development site.

Other environmental aspects are less sensitive to change over time. Archaeological reports, for instance are likely to remain unaffected. It is important to note that although the actual archaeological resource may remain unchanged, it may be that new general information about the area has emerged that affects the conclusions of the original archaeological impact assessment.

Finally, legislation, guidance and professional standards may have changed in the intervening period. This could also affect the conclusions of the environmental statement.

From the above it will be clear that an environmental statement that is based on two or three year old information is not necessarily valid any longer. A review by appropriate professionals should be the first step to take. They will have to re-examine the existing baseline information and consider any changes that may have occurred. If the conclusion is that no material changes to the baseline have occurred than no re-assessment would be required. All that needs to be done is update the baseline information within the environmental statement so that it reflects the re-examination.

Where material changes have occurred, a re-assessment is likely to be required. This does not mean that all the elements of the environmental impact assessment will have to be redone. The re-assessment only needs to focus on the aspect where the change occurred. It will be very rare that the baseline has changed so drastically that an entirely new environmental impact assessment is required.