Whether you’ve just graduated university and are looking for the best career path to tackle, or you’re someone who is interested in making a career change, there are a lot of options available to you. Some may be more lucrative than others, but in time, making money alone doesn’t tend to bring feelings of satisfaction.
The Many Paths Ahead
Typically, people actually prefer jobs where they feel they are making a difference. Everyone wants to make their mark on the world, but not every career field offers that opportunity. There is one, however, that could allow you to make a lasting mark for generations to come.
Conservation is a career path that directly impacts so many aspects of the world. There are numerous fields within conservation such as wetland protection, flood mitigation, and even National Park management, so there’s practically a job for anyone regardless of skill, training, age, or whether you do or do not have a university degree. In this article, I want to highlight the many ways in which conservation impacts the world as you know it, and why having a job in this field is so important.
1. Conservation protects the environment and it’s wildlife.
The most obvious impact that conservation has on the world is through the environment. By protecting key locations of environmental importance, the most notable being the Amazon basin, conservationists essentially keep the world a healthy place. This isn’t just for humans either, but for animals and in fact all life. Everything hangs in a precarious balance. One relies on another for food. On the occasion that any given ‘food population’ dies out due to, for example, soil pollution either destroying or transforming the landscape so severely that it is no longer habitable, other creatures further up the food chain begin to suffer. Whatever species initially ate that food population could also face extinction since they become unable to feed themselves. The cycle continues until a whole network of animals and organic life is impacted–possibly extinct.
In working to preserve the worlds’ ecosystems, conservationists help to keep the status quo balanced, and ensure that biodiversity prospers. A simple job in conservation can essentially save an entire species.
2. Conservation protects the economy.
It’s likely that the majority of people don’t see the link between the economy and conservation. Indeed, if they do indeed stop to consider this relationship at all, it may be that they believe conservation takes a toll on the economy, since it is a costly enterprise that involves investment and funding. This is not the case. Conservation, in fact, helps to protect the economy. By protecting local habitats, conservation can help to prevent floods, bring tourism to beautiful locations, and increase home values in areas that are preserved.
Flooding can destroy businesses and run up large costs for rebuilding. Conservationists can offer flood-risk mitigation strategies such as tree-planting or advocating for stricter building requirements, which contribute to the prevention of flooding and keep business owner’s profits ‘in the green.’
With regards to tourism, since conservation is all about preserving plant and animal life, a place that is thriving and naturally beautiful is going to attract tourists who want to enjoy that beauty. You certainly don’t see tourists visiting landfills and industrial zones for their holidays.
Finally, when people are looking to get on the property ladder, factors such as trees, healthy grass, and the surrounding environment come into play. A conservationist can help local communities maintain that beautiful landscape that will not only help out the environment but can increase the value of their home.
3. Conservation has benefits to human health.
Another often-overlooked benefit from the work of conservationists is their aid in improving the health of the human population. Because greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants wreak such havoc on organic life, you can be sure that it is having an effect on humans, too. In cities where smog and other air pollutants thrive, there’s a significant increase in the reported amount of people with breathing conditions. Conservationists can help keep the air clean via lobbying for stricter governmental regulations and through public advocacy and engagement campaigns.
Pollutants also have a powerful effect on water. All over the news recently, reports of lead and other worrisome chemicals and pollutants found in sources of drinking water have been increasing. A conservationist keeps the water safe to drink — by monitoring waterways for pollutants, testing the water quality through various tests and transparently reporting their findings — not just for humans but for animals, too. With clean water, populations of a diverse range of species can prosper and maintain their health.
Finally, with their constant promotion of natural outdoor spaces like National Parks, through their discouraging of the privatization of public land, and with governmental organisations like the Environment Agency, conservationists encourage people to be outside and enjoy the natural world. Not only has connecting with nature been shown to improve mental health and mood, but those who go outside are also receiving exercise. For children, where the rate of obesity has been on the rise, this is especially important. If they don’t have a place to play and explore and use their imaginations, then they run the risk of impacting their mental and physical health.
A Powerful Player In All Circles
As you can see, conservation involves more than just ensuring species don’t go extinct and plant life remains thriving. A healthy world means that its occupants are healthy, too. To impact the lives of billions of people, and in future generations, conservation is key.
For more examples of internships available to young people pursuing conservation, check out our articles by the youths of Our Bright Future!
Josy O’Donnel is the creator of the blog Conservation Institute. While completing her bachelor’s degree, she developed an interest in the study of Earth’s future and the conservation of Earth’s natural resources. Years after, she is still immersed in these subjects, and wants to share her passion with an online community of people who are devoted spreading awareness and attention to the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.