Environment is an important aspect of every country; natural resources are the backbone of an economy. The primary concern of an environmentalist is environment protection. Today, the definition of an environmentalist has come of age — not all environmentalists impart lectures on rainforests or rally against the sale and manufacture of carbon-emitting ‘clunkers.’ A scientist studying retreating glaciers or rising sea levels, a lawyer fighting against polluting industrial units or an activist campaigning against ‘bio-piracy’ (the move by an industrial organisation to patent indigenous crop/plant varieties) or fighting to change certain anti-environment policies are all friends of the earth and thereby environmentalists. In other words anybody who works in this field has to have a love for nature and a passion for environment protection. The environment is a cohesive entity so it is essential to adopt an interdisciplinary approach.
What do they do?
As an Environmentalist you may have to conduct research and study on air, soil, water or food in order to find any adulteration. You will have to do risk assessment and have to submit a report on its potential impact on ecosystem. You may also have to give presentations to policymakers on their research and write technical proposals.
- Good in science, inclination for research, habit of questioning and analysing everything endlessly
- Great communication skills. You might be required to deal with people at the grassroot level to learn from or teach them effective farming/ agriculture technology. You might also have to interact with prominent national or global personalities if you are advocating policy changes, etc
- Good analytical skills
- Ability to handle adversities and move on. Land, water, forests and agriculture are crucial for the environment. Big industries have huge stakes in these segments. Taking them on, advocating policy changes, fighting endless court battles and taking out rallies requires patience and perseverance and large dollops of courage
- Sometimes you might lose the battle, but to win the war you have no option but to soldier on. It can be frustrating but you should have the skills to handle it
How do I get there?
You can study any discipline to become an environmentalist. Taking subjects like biology, physics, chemistry and maths at Class 12 is not necessary. A degree in environmental studies can help. Many NGOs offer training capsules. You can join them as a volunteer to gain experience.
Pros & Cons about this career
That you are doing the best thing you can for the earth and her people can be a great feeling