All professionals in the environmental science sector work towards the broad goal of achieving environmental sustainability by taking on different roles across numerous industries. They may be responsible for any number of tasks, including writing research papers, studying the environmental impacts of human activity, drafting programmes to reduce emissions, acting as public relations liaisons, collecting samples and enforcing regulations on emissions.
Environmental consultants and managers are in demand in diverse sectors, and advise businesses on ways to reduce their environmental repercussions as well as develop and oversee impact reduction strategies. In a nutshell, their primary purpose is to ensure that companies comply with legislation and act as a liaison with regulatory agencies.
Large corporates committed to being eco-friendly often hire environmental officers to conduct eco-office audits and run workshops and training. Private consultancy firms are also often hired to conduct third-party Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on projects where manufacturing factories need to monitor and reduce emissions and waste.
Outside of the private sector, the government employs environmental officers to monitor and enforce regulations to ensure a healthy environment for all, and they are usually responsible for conducting inspections, collecting samples, writing reports and ensuring regulations are followed. There are also a number of research institutions that conduct independent studies on the climate, monitor the environment and propose new programmes and policies that protect the environment.
Graduate hopefuls looking to work in this industry will soon face the reality that some duties can be similar to that of a scientist’s work, such as going to the field, collecting samples, analysing them and interpreting the data to determine if there has been excess emissions or waste, contamination or pollution. From there, they may have to produce a report or present their findings, and come up with a plan to mitigate the environmental impact.
Trends and developments
Employment in this sector is growing at a faster rate than average compared to other industries, largely due to increased public awareness about climate change and other major environmental issues in recent years. In addition, the political landscape is also now more receptive to climate change, as well as what needs to be done to ameliorate it.
The work done by environmental science professionals greatly impacts the health of the surrounding environments, and professionals, regardless of their sector and position, all take immense pride in playing a key role in ensuring that emissions and waste are kept to safe and environmentally-sustainable standards.
Skills required in environmental science
- Strong written and verbal communication skills
- Collaborative skills
- Critical thinker and problem-solver
- Keen observation skills