#Environmental Justice

Tag: #Environmental Justice

Career Spotlight: Environmental Organizations

If asked to name a concern of global importance, many Lawrence students would cite the changing climate and its impact on the environment. Some go so far as to declare environmental justice as their desired career path. In fact, some past Lawrentians have already done so, choosing to turn their passion for the improving the environment into a career, by working for an environmental organization. 

While environmental organizations may occasionally be a private company or corporation, most of the time, such entities are part of local, state or federal government, or they may be a non-governmental organization (NGO), or an intergovernmental organization.  In addition to climate change, other environmental issues they focus on include pollution, waste, resource depletion and human overpopulation.

In the United States, the primary federal government agencies tasked with serving and protecting the environment include the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.  Most states have their own versions of some of these agencies as well. 

The list of NGO’s in the United States and around the world committed to environmental protection is too long to list, but you have likely heard of many of the larger ones, including the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Greenpeace

All of these government agencies and NGO’s hire interns, so if you are looking for a place to get hands-on experience in protecting the environment and fighting climate change, consider a summer internship for such an agency or organization.  Please note that government agencies hire their summer interns very early, so you should start looking as early as this fall for internships in the summer of 2023.

Another great way to get experience in this area is by joining one of the many Lawrence environmental clubs and organizations, some of which are Greenfire, the Lawrence University Environmental Organization, the LUCC Sustainability Committee and the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden (SLUG)

Career Highlight: Environmental Toxicologist

Adapted from environmentalscience.org 

Environmental toxicologists study the effects of toxic chemicals like pollutants (e.g., pesticides, industrial waste, etc.) and heavy metals on the environment and humans. They minimize these effects by investigating the sources of chemicals and examining how these chemicals move through ecosystems to predict where and how these chemicals may end up in our bodies. If this career interests you, read on! 

Job Duties: 

Environmental toxicologists conduct experiments on human cells and lab animals to investigate the effects of toxic chemicals. They forecast and analyze the impact of toxic chemicals using modeling technology. They also present their findings to stakeholders and administrators and may even consult with policymakers on the safety of chemicals.  

Where They Work: 

There are a variety of opportunities in academia, private industries and in federal and state regulatory agencies for environmental toxicologists. Those employed by federal , and state regulatory agencies often test new chemicals for safety or help develop regulatory policies. 

Toxicologists employed by private companies help with product development and safety testing. They may either work for product developers or research organizations that contract their expertise. Toxicologists are also being increasingly employed by consulting firms that advise public officials, industries and lawyers on toxic chemicals. 

Many environmental toxicologists are also employed as faculty or staff researchers at colleges and universities, with doctoral degrees being required for such positions. Some nonprofit organizations also hire toxicologists to conduct research on chemicals or issues of public concern.  

Education and Training: 

Toxicologists employed as faculty or staff researchers most often require doctoral degrees. Most professionals start with bachelor’s degrees in biology, chemistry, environmental chemistry, or ecology. Further graduate training then provides additional education in molecular and developmental biology, neuroscience and risk assessment.  

Pay and Job Outlook: 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the predicted job demand is an 8 percent increase between 2020 and 2030. Environmental toxicologists fall under the broader category of environmental scientists and specialists. According to the BLS, this category earned a median salary of $73,230 as of May 2020. The highest paying industry for these professionals is the federal government, which reported a median salary of $103,180 during this time.