Environment, agriculture & conservation misconceptions
You may have heard that careers in the environment, agriculture and conservation sector are all about living the good life. You live a peaceful existence and work on your own terms, eating your own crops, talking to your animals and strolling through your cornfields in the summer time. Alternatively, you may have heard that environmental, agriculture and conservation careers are all about protesting, living in tree houses or repairing coral reefs with your bare hands.
Well, that’s not entirely true.
So before you make the decision to get into environment, agriculture and conservation, you should firstly discover what it’s really all about.
The realities of environment, agriculure & conservation
It’s all about sustaining, protecting and using our natural environment. The environment and agriculture have become especially hot topics in recent years. You’ve probably heard the phrases ‘global warming’ and ‘buy British’ more times than you can count. Growing environmental concerns and a desire to revive the British agricultural industry have sparked reaction from the government and the public. Consequently, an increasing amount of careers in these industries are becoming available.
Environmental policies, initiatives and activities have a major influence on the quality of all our lives. The air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat is all dependent on the important work of people in environmental careers. Understandably, careers in agriculture also have a huge impact on the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the flowers that decorate our homes, the pharmaceutical products we consume and even the fuels we are beginning to use.
There are many different careers within this sector, ranging from practical roles, such as farmers, gamekeepers and tree surgeons, to roles focused on environmental policy, education and corporate social responsibility.
Environment, agriculture & conservation options
Many businesses are now especially concerned with making sure that they comply with environmental legislation and policies. They are also keen to restrict the environmental impact of their activities. Consequently, companies either employ people within their own corporate social responsibility departments, or utilise the services of environmental consultancy companies to ensure that they are as environmentally friendly as possible.
Environmental policies and laws need to be developed, implemented, regulated and enforced. These policies can be applied locally, or can have much wider national or international implications. Consequently, various people contribute to the creation of these policies, such as park supervisors, ecologists, economists and environmental policy makers. Environmental laws are often broken and this necessitates the need for environmental lawyers and conservation police officers. Environmental education is another essential career area, which raises awareness of environmental issues and develops good practice in response to environmental policies.
Policies, laws and sustainable development initiatives are not the final answer to environmental problems. Action needs to be taken, and this is where environmental scientists, conservation workers, volunteers and engineers come in. In order to facilitate environmental change, both scientific assessments and research need to be carried out. Solutions then need to be designed, engineered and actively instigated.
The agricultural industry requires farmers, growers and horticulturalists to provide the initial seeds of production for food, clothing, fuel and other products. However, other careers are also available in the agricultural industry, including agricultural consultants. These guys offer business and technical advice to agricultural workers, which helps them to grow their business and enhance their productivity.
Careers which involve hands-on environmental, agricultural and conservation work are truly varied. Various niche careers are dedicated to woodland environments, such as tree surgeons and forestry management specialists. Other careers are dedicated to the sustainability of animal life, including careers in gamekeeping, and animal health and welfare.
However, it’s not all about land-based ecosystems and environments. Indeed, many careers are dedicated to marine and other water environments, such as fishery management, coral reef conservation, water resource management and water pollution control. Similarly, the quality of our air is incredibly important and various careers are dedicated to the control of air pollution.
So careers in environment, agriculture and conservation aren’t all about hugging trees and living as one with the earth. What a surprise! It looks like the actual work involved in this sector probably goes a lot further in preserving the environment than the actions of the hippie generation ever did. Perhaps the lack of tree-hugging is not such a bad thing after all?!
Andrea K - Environmental Scientist
Andrea K is an Environmental Scientist with the Forestry Commission, "I spend quite a lot of time out in the field. I'm quite good at looking at plants in the woodlands and saying, 'This is that species and we've got so much of that species and that changes by so much over time'. My work involves doing experiments to help our foresters do better forestry."
- Mark B - Estate Warden
- Katherine L - Head Zoo Keeper
- Paul T - Managing Director
- Rachel E - Agricultural Lecturer
- George U - Technical Services & Environmental Manager
- Stuart C - Countryside Manager
- Matt B - Fisheries Technical Officer
- Neil L - Fish Farmer
- Anna C - Education Officer
- Hayley K - Administration Manager
- Andrew H - Animal Keeper
- Rebecca W - Animal Collection Keeper
- Andrea K - Environmental Scientist
- Helen G - Land Agent
- Laura H - Forest Craftsperson
- Michael P - Pest Control Officer
- Kevin J - Steward
- Liz K - Staff Aromatherapist
- Carl T - Shift Team Leader
- Nathaniel M - Outreach Officer
- Tim F - Boiler Team Leader