"The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats and biodiversity… that’s all there is. That’s the whole economy. That’s where all the economic activity and jobs come from.
These biological systems are the sustaining wealth of the world."
– Gaylord Nelson, US Senator, Governor,
and Principal Founder of Earth Day
Although we don't often stop to think about it in these terms, the raw materials used to create the modern world ultimately come from the planet. As Gaylord Nelson put it in his book, Beyond Earth Day: Fulfilling the Promise, "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around."
In other words, the future of our economy doesn't hold much promise unless we create a relationship with the natural world that's grounded in restoration, regeneration, and sustainability.
I've been passionate about living sustainably, within our means, since I was quite young. I didn't have the words to explain this conviction at the time, but looking back I can see clues throughout my childhood. My strong affinity with the natural world made it painful for me (and still does) to see natural resources wasted without a second thought.
Although I continued to be concerned about the way we treated the natural world, I didn't really see how I could make a difference through my work as a career transition consultant. Then in early 2007, as the media was just beginning to highlight the personal actions we needed to take to combat the effects of climate change, I had two life-changing realizations.
- As I imagined the transition to a greener, more sustainable way of life I realized new innovations and discoveries would lead the way. This would spark new industries to emerge, and hopefully flourish. As I continued to follow this train of thought, I realized that these shifts would lead to a wide array of new careers. And given the emerging nature of this new industrial revolution, this period had the potential to completely change how we work and how we find work.
- The most effective way I could make a difference on the environmental issues I care so deeply about was to shift my own career to focus on helping passionate professionals figure out how to apply their expertise to the issues of the day.
Within seven weeks of having these two epiphanies, I launched Green Career Central on Earth Day 2007 with the release of an ebook that cataloged green job boards.
In the early days “green” jobs and “green collar” jobs were getting a lot of media attention.
A small contingent of my peers and I were also talking about the importance of green careers for professionals.
If a career or position helped the planet in some way, I considered it "green."
Fast forward to 2013. Times have changed. The “green” word doesn’t have the same cachet it once had. The emerging trend is to tap into a broader approach to change, where environmental impact is only one piece of the puzzle. Given the emergent nature of this movement, different professions and industries use different words to refer to the same idea and the same word to mean different things. For a time, sustainability was the “hot” word. Now resilient, adaptive, and regenerative are gaining favor. I expect our semantics will continue to evolve as our thinking and understanding of the issues and solutions deepen and expand.
In recent years I've considered renaming my business to reflect the “current” terminology, but then I realized finding the “right” word is a bit of a moving target these days! So instead I’ve developed my own definition that captures the expansive way I think about "green careers".
As our gift to you to celebrate Earth Week and our 7th Anniversary, we've just released a new Special Report, "Two Ways You May Be Unwittingly Derailing Your Transition to a Greener, More Sustainable Career and What You Can Do Right Now to Get Back on Track"
Visit our Facebook page to grab this informative free report -->
As we celebrate Earth Week this year, we are excited to be stepping into a new era at Green Career Central and we look forward to working with you.