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The 7 best degrees for a career in climate change

27 Jan 2021 - Barni Homden

With the climate crisis increasingly affecting the world we live in, fighting climate change is only going to become more important. Right now, the world needs everyone from scientists to politicians to engineers to tackle the crisis.

This means that there are likely to be ever more careers available that focus on this enormous issue. Here are the 7 best degrees for a career in climate change, and ideas for career paths to explore.

1. Environmental Engineering

One of the best degrees for a career in climate change is Environmental Engineering. Tackling the climate crisis will require all kinds of engineers working on varied projects, from greener infrastructure to carbon capture technology. However, if you really want to focus on environmental projects, you can become an environmental engineer.

environmental engineering

Environmental Engineering as a field of study focuses on how we can apply science and engineering to maintain and improve the environment. This includes preserving and expanding on the beneficial ecosystems that help capture and store carbon, such as rainforests.

A degree in Environmental Engineering will help you explore many different types of engineering principles and practices, and can be extremely adaptable. It’s great preparation for a career in environmental engineering.

2. Climate Change Science

The next degree you might consider for a career fighting climate change is Climate Change Science. Did you know that there are actually specialised degrees available to study the science of climate change specifically? These can be surprisingly varied, and take either a hard science approach or an approach that focuses on social science. Both approaches are important in the fight against climate change, and can help you make a big impact!

Degrees focused specifically on climate change may not always be called ‘Climate Change Science’, but will always explore the way climate change is affecting the world, and how humanity can respond. It’s the perfect degree choice for those passionate about making a difference.

3. Earth Science, Environmental Geoscience and Environmental Geography

Earth Science can cover a number of areas of study, all related to understanding our planet, including its atmosphere and biosphere. By understanding Earth a little better, we may be able to find new and improved solutions to the problems the planet faces.

You can also study Geoscience or Geography with an environmental focus as a way of making a difference. Environmental Geography and Geoscience can be quite varied disciplines, and explore the relationship between human beings and the natural environment.

4. Politics

It may not seem directly related to climate change or the environment, but the politics of climate change is incredibly important. Two of the biggest obstacles facing the battle against climate change are political inaction and public opinion.

By working in politics, you can help build both public and political support for the policies needed to address the challenges we all face. A great way to start your path to a career in this field is by studying a Politics degree. You’ll gain a broad understanding of different political traditions and theories, and will be well placed to start a political career and become a leader in the fight against climate change.

5. Sustainability

Sustainability is not typically just one discipline, but a branch that exists in many different subject areas. For instance, Business Sustainability and Corporate Sustainability focus on how companies can make their operations more sustainable, with less of a negative impact on the environment and the climate.

Many universities, such as Arizona State University in the USA, offer all kinds of sustainability focused degrees, including simply a degree in Sustainability. Studying Sustainability will give you the chance to explore new and innovative ways for us to all live and act in a way that doesn’t do long-term damage to the planet and the climate.

6. Agriculture

agriculture farm and solar panels

One of the biggest contributors to climate change is the impact that farming and agriculture has on the planet. From the carbon emitted by livestock to the destruction of forestry to make way for farmland, there are all kinds of problems that urgently need to be addressed. When you couple this with the need to feed a growing world population, it’s not hard to see why it’s such an important issue to tackle.

You can help by studying Agriculture or a related degree, and focusing on sustainable farming solutions. There are all kinds of related degrees to choose from, including ones that specialise in sustainability and food security.

7. Energy

Finally, a big challenge we face is phasing out coal, gas and other polluting sources of energy in favour of more climate-friendly options. From wind turbines to solar panels, there are plenty of renewable energy solutions humanity is exploring.

In fact, the green energy sector is growing rapidly, and creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs across the world. According to a 2019 study, the U.S. green economy now employs 10 times more people than the fossil fuels industry!

There are various energy-related degrees you can study before making the most of the many job opportunities available, including degrees focused on sustainable or renewable energy, or even energy law and regulation.

Shape the world with sustainability

To sum up, these are some of the best degrees for a career fighting climate change. If you feel strongly about leaving the world better than you found it, then studying these subjects could lead to a fulfilling career that makes a difference. You can shape your future and shape the world with a “green” degree.

 
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