Ten job roles to save the planet that you didn’t know existed

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4 min read

Written by Meg Timbrell, Editorial Assistant for Sortyourfuture.com.

In the wake of David Attenborough’s ‘Extinction: The Facts’ (BBC) and ‘A Life on our Planet’ (Netflix), I have had numerous conversations with friends and family about how helpless we feel in the face of climate change. How can we make real, tangible change for the better?

You might never have considered turning this feeling into a career, with so many ways in which you can make a difference.

To help inspire you, here are ten job roles that might help save the planet…

  • Entomologist

Entomologists are scientists who study insects, helping us understand more about them and their role in our environment. Insects play a vital role in the health of our planet, and their characteristics, behaviours, and evolutionary development have contributed to hugely important design, medical, and engineering breakthroughs, so those who study them have an important role to play. 

Examples of day-to-day jobs… (full list here

  • Designing and conducting scientific research in your chosen aspect of entomology. 
  • Collecting data, analysing and reporting on your results.

Salary: £24k-50k 

Hours: 37-42 per week

  • Climate scientist

As a climate scientist, you’ll communicate the science and effects of climate change to the public and decision-makers. 

Examples of day-to-day jobs… (full list here

  • Gathering and analysing data from the atmosphere, oceans and land.
  • Creating computer models to simulate the effects of changes to climate.
  • Designing and building scientific instruments and sensors.

Salary: £27k-55k 

Hours: 37-42 per week

  • Ecologist

As an ecologist, you’ll study the relationship between plants, animals and the environment. You’ll usually specialise in a particular type of environment, like marine or coastal areas. You could study a specific animal or plant species. 

Examples of day-to-day jobs… (full list here

  • Carrying out fieldwork.
  • Surveying and recording information on plants, animals, environmental conditions and biodiversity.
  • Researching the impact of human activity, like housing and intensive agriculture, on the environment.

Salary: £19k-45k

Hours: 39-41 per week

  • Futurist

Futurist or futurologist is a relatively new role that focuses on making forecasts and predictions about what might happen to human society, technology, the economy, and other key systems in the future. 

Examples of day-to-day jobs… (full list here

  • Analysing past trends and researching changes that are taking place in society.
  • Making forecasts and predictions about what might happen in the future. 

Salary: £20k-80k

Hours: 37-45 per week

  • Biotechnologist

Biotechnologists use plants, animals, microbes, biochemistry and genetics to develop new products and improve existing ones. You can specialise in environmental biotechnology.

Examples of day-to-day jobs… (full list here

  • Developing micro-organisms and plants to clean polluted land or water.
  • Creating alternative renewable sources of energy like biodiesel. 
  • Producing environmentally friendly raw materials for industry like biodegradable plastics from plant starches.

Salary: £19k-60k

Hours: 38-40 per week

  • Oceanographer

Oceanographers study the seas and oceans. You’ll specialise in one of the four branches of oceanography: biological, physical, geological, or chemical.

Examples of day-to-day jobs… (full list here

  • Planning and carrying out research expeditions.
  • Tracking changes in the environment.
  • Designing experiments to test ideas.

Salary: £14k-60k

Hours: 37-41 per week

  • Environmental consultant

Environmental consultants advise organisations on a range of sustainability issues, from managing waste and recycling to assessing flood risk and the effects of climate change. Most environmental consultants work for consultancy firms who are hired by local and central government or by private organisations.

Examples of day-to-day jobs… (full list here

  • Exploring the suitability of sites for developments like power stations or wind farms.
  • Working out environment risks caused by industries like energy or chemical production.
  • Reporting organisations that don’t meet environmental laws and regulations.

Salary: £22k-60k

Hours: 37-39 per week

  • Agronomist

Agronomists advise farmers on soil management and crop production. 

Examples of day-to-day jobs… (full list here

  • Advising farmers on land management and how to improve their crop yields.
  • Studying soil, water and other factors which affect crop growth.
  • Creating treatment plans to keep crops free of pests and weeds.

Salary: £20k-45k

Hours: 37-40 per week

  • Sustainability officer

Sustainability officers work within organisations to ensure their business practices are sustainable and environmentally sound. You’ll work for one organisation and be responsible for evaluating the impact they are having on their environment.

Examples of day-to-day jobs… (full list here

  • Gathering data on the organisation’s environmental impact.
  • Formulating plans and policies for managing the impact and operating in sustainable ways.
  • Engaging staff in adopting the policies or developing sustainability projects. 

Salary: £18k-35k

Hours: 37-42 per week

  • Environmental impact assessor

Environmental impact assessors conduct assessments of the likely environmental impacts of a particular action or activity and produce reports. 

Examples of day-to-day jobs… (full list here

  • Researching a particular development project.
  • Surveying a site and gathering information.
  • Using modelling techniques to predict impacts, risks, and potential scenarios.

Salary: £25k-60k

Hours: 37-45 per week

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