Los Angeles remains earnest in its quest to become the greenest big city in America. Marathon efforts have created employment for many along the way. As residents continue to navigate toward a more ecologically obligated lifestyle, job opportunities for environmental scientists and specialists are expected to amplify by 15 percent by the year 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sustainability has, indeed, become more than a 21st century buzzword. It is a measure to earn a purposeful living.

(Photo courtesy of Nurit Katz)

(Photo courtesy of Nurit Katz)

“The field of sustainability and environment is a problem-solving vocation,” said Nurit Katz, chief sustainability officer and instructor at UCLA Extension. “And there are opportunities for people to find meaningful work and make a significant impact in this growing area.”

Why has sustainability become such a consequential area of concern?

“The LA region faces critical sustainability challenges in the coming decades in water, energy, food, transportation and other systems we depend on.”

What types of engagement are you noticing throughout LA? 

“There are so many exciting things happening in Los Angeles right now, from the restoration of the LA River and expansion of new subway and rail systems to bicycle sharing programs and urban agriculture in the inner city. People are changing how they live, play and work in every field, from health care and business to architecture.”

How is education helping to alter thinking patterns?

“Studying ecology and sustainability helps us understand our lives and our work better. We find ways to break down silos within our organizations and companies, and create stronger communities.”

What is your advice to those interested in seeking a career in the field of sustainability? 

“If you work in real estate, you can focus your practice on green buildings. If you are an elementary school teacher, you can work sustainability into the curriculum. Build on your passion and expertise. I also recommend attending professional events and workshops both to educate yourself on this rapidly changing area, and also for networking. There is a strong community in this field. For those interested in teaching environmental science or sustainability, there are many forms of education beyond the classroom.”

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.


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