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Why Creative People Do Environmental Work

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, the green job market is rife with technical roles. The full range of natural sciences is fundamental to sustainability, from biology and chemistry to oceanography, geology and the atmospheric sciences. In addition to science, engineering is critical to the future of the planet, from making better cities through civil engineering to driving innovation and efficiencies in the grid through electrical and mechanical engineering, to using automotive and agricultural engineering to develop low carbon paradigms in the cars we drive and the food we eat.

Artists need nature

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Do not despair if you have a liberal arts degree—the planet needs you too. I may be biased here, since I majored in creative writing and have spent many years writing poetry and playing in bands. But I have witnessed first hand the allure that environmental work has on creative people. Perhaps it is because we draw creative energy and inspiration from nature. Cody C. Delistraty, in a piece in The Atlantic, points out that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote most of Tender is the Night in the country often taking walks where the ambient noise and dim light helped the abstract thinking necessary to write. It probably helped that he was gin-drunk half the time too, but that’s beside the point.

Nature needs artists

While we may not have the scientific rigor of our more specialized colleagues, creatives do have a lot to offer the sustainability field. It may even be argued that the climate conundrum we currently face is the result of a zealous technical age that has been too focused on optimizing narrow efficiencies and maximizing economic value while not concerned enough with the broader set of social, environmental, ethical and artistic/aesthetic values necessary to sustain life on Earth. In a practical sense, creative people might write, design, or develop out of the box strategies. They can launch businesses and products as well as raise money and create compelling marketing campaigns. They can help to communicate the urgency of climate change and help to explain the many solutions at hand. Creatives can bring new thinking to seemingly intractable political or technical problems. We need artists to conceive of a just, sustainable future.

Creative people can be effective in a range of job functions at companies and organizations working in the clean economy. As illustrated in the Green Job Market Overview, green job functions that are relevant to non-technical people include general management, business development and strategic planning, product design, marketing and government affairs. These roles require astute written and verbal communication skills as well as conceptual thinking.

Whatever your background, talents or skill set, your planet needs you. For personalized help in charting your career path in the range sustainability sectors, drop us a line.

The Sower

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