In the next decade, millions of new “green” jobs will be created
A brand new report by UN highlights what skills will young people need to land these planet-friendly jobs
In the next decade, millions of new “green” jobs will be created in new-wave industries, like solar energy, and established fields, like architecture, fashion and farming.
For young people, these jobs will represent an opportunity to earn a steady living while helping to tackle some of the planet’s biggest challenges, from climate change to pollution to species loss. But what skills will young people need to land these planet-friendly jobs?
A recent report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), GEO-6 for Youth, has the answer.
The skills youth will need
Systems thinking skills
The green economy will require analytical thinkers to see patterns and identify innovative ways to improve sustainability, whether in textile production, food distribution or infrastructure development.
Systems thinkers will be important to businesses wanting to increase efficiency, strengthen organizational structures and improve the relationships between various divisions. Employers will value those who can help monitor social and environmental impacts. Systems thinkers are well-suited to roles that emphasize analytics, logistics and engineering.
The green economy will require environmental scientists, materials scientists, hydrologists, biochemists, biologists and experts in other scientific disciplines. They’ll be charged with tackling challenges such as ecosystem management, weather forecasting, contagious disease outbreaks and carbon capture storage.
Between 2007 and 2013, the number of people worldwide working full-time as scientists or other researchers grew by 21%, to reach 7.8 million.
Urban planning and architectural skills
The shift to a green economy will require major changes in how we plan our cities, design transport systems, manage waste, and construct buildings and other infrastructure. New environmental regulations will increase demand for designers, architects, engineers, and planners to translate those rules for their clients. There will be a growing demand for innovative designs that maximize efficiency and minimize the environmental footprint of buildings and other infrastructure, like roads and bridges. Workers skilled in sustainable design will also be required in the fields of waste management and civil engineering.
Green engineering & tech skills
As demand grows for more efficient and renewable energy sources, skilled workers who can design, install and maintain solar panels, wind turbines, waste management systems and environmental monitoring devices will be in high demand. The rise in electric and other low-emissions vehicles will also create jobs for engineers. Designers who can create products that result in little or no new waste will also find eager clients.
The green economy will require people skilled in conservation agriculture, climate-smart agriculture, organic farming, precision agriculture and urban farming. People with skills in sustainable land use planning will also be in demand.
The green economy will require creators, designers, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, dancers, actors and other artists who can inspire and challenge people everywhere to live more sustainably.
GEO-6 for Youth is a one-stop-shop for a young person to understand the state of the environment, what they can do every day to drive markets to adopt environmentally sustainable products and services and how to develop their skills and choose environmentally sustainable careers.
Several case studies and interviews appear in the report, including small-scale, community-led projects and individual guides to developing the appropriate skills for green jobs and daily sustainable actions. A gender and geographically balanced team of 28 young authors from across the world worked on the report using the GEO’s co-creation model.
The report aims to:
- Translate high-level, scientific messages on the state of the environment for a youth audience (ages 15 to 24),
- Define how youth can bring about transformational change by creating and accessing environmentally sustainable jobs,
- Identify daily sustainability actions that can change market dynamics to achieve an environmentally sustainable world by 2050.
Read UNEP’s first fully interactive e-publication, GEO-6 for Youth, written by youth for youth to inform, engage, educate, and lead youth towards environmental action.
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