By ECO Canada
On the forefront of the Environmental Industry, the following jobs have emerged as some of the most unique and fascinating occupations. Practitioners are looking for new approaches to handle and solve environmental issues and new occupations are evolving as the need for highly specialized individuals’ increases.
An outdoor occupation that sees plenty of action, avalanche forecasters save lives while risking their own. These individuals review reports using the latest satellite technology and then take a hands-on approach; navigating the snow covered areas that seem to draw people by the hundreds. Here the skill of mountaineering coupled with the knowledge of mountain conditions, weather, and snow science are used to evaluate the risk of avalanches in a given area.
Though most forecasters have science degrees under their belt, they must also be in good physical condition and have backcountry travel and avalanche skills. This job is a multifaceted one with much risk as workers assess new dangers in areas that are hard to travel through and often very dangerous. Forecasters understand however that their role is vital in protecting the public and raising avalanche awareness. Once done in the field, workers return to forecast the safety conditions for the public. Considering this line of work entails saving lives, it’s no wonder that avalanche forecasters are busy three out of four seasons a year. This makes their down time in the summer months very welcome and well-deserved.
Similar to environmental medical detectives, environmental epidemiologists investigate, identify and assess links between health concerns and the surrounding environment. For example, when the frequency of illnesses increase in an area where there used to be an oil refinery, there is a chance that waste from the refinery or plant resulted in soil contamination which is having a negative impact on health.
An epidemiologist helps maintain public health by investigating the causes of potentially harmful illnesses and identifying its’ source in relation to the environment before more people are affected. Lastly they must assess the health status of the population and monitor the presence of the causal factors in order to recommend courses of action. This is a proactive role. Professionals in this line of work are the first to know about a health issue before it spreads into a potential pandemic.
Working in the most remote parts of the world, glaciologists hike and ice climb to analyze how glaciers and ice caps move and alter in response to climate changes and in turn, how glacier activity affects the environment. These professionals work closely with a climbing team, trekking through snow and ice to monitor the current state of a glacier, returning frequently to base camp to map out changes as they occur. The data collected allows glaciologists to understand both past and future climate fluctuations that the earth and its’ inhabitants will experience.
Through their scientifically designed experiments and careful recording of results, glaciologists provide scientists world-wide access to the raw facts and material needed to make further conclusions about our ever changing environment. Without glaciologists, this data needed for scientific study would be unobtainable.
Remote Sensing Technologist
Technology goes hand-in-hand with scientific study and the development of new technologies opens the door to new ways of learning about the environment. Remote Sensing Technologists study the Earth’s surface using a combination of aerial photos, imaging radar, digital image analysis, and Global Information Systems (GIS).
This is a growing profession that results in information that is both informative and practical to the public at large. For example, the images collected are used every day by Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and online applications such as Google Maps. Remote Sensing Technologists are the photographers of the earth whose pictures are important to the scientific community.
Aiding the movement towards increased environmental action, Sustainable Architects design environmentally friendly structures. The most important goal for a Sustainable Architect is to maximize energy efficiency for the complete lifetime of a building. Additionally, these architects focus on what affect structures have on the environment as well as what affect a buildings’ micro climate has on the people living in them.
Sustainable Architects create attractive, affordable, and comfortable buildings with significantly reduced environmental impact during both the construction phase and the complete lifetime of the building. As a result of their innovation and hard work, these forward-thinking architects contribute to structures that will not only outlast them but will equally have a positive effect on the environment for generations to come.
Want to find out more about the different environmental careers available, and see if you would make a good fit? Check out ECO Canada's occupational profiles and video library for a day-in-the-life of environmental professionals.