The first half of the 21st century will be a critical area in the evolution of environmental careers. It has been the task of the past 30 years to raise environmental awareness, control and reverse unregulated pollution, and create public and private organizations dedicated to conservation and environmental protection. The work has been difficult and expansive, but the current generation has made remarkable progress. In fact, it has been nothing short of a revolution.
In many ways, however, the next generation of environmental professionals faces challenges that are infinitely more difficult than those that have confronted the current one. The task at hand today is not only to control pollution, but to prevent it; to not only slow the rate of habitat and soil loss, but to reverse it; and to not only regulate unsustainable activity, but to create a sustainable way of life on a crowded planet
Where will the human race find solutions to its environmental problems? We must find them everywhere, and at the same time. We need dramatic improvements in technology, protection of plant and animal habitats, energy conservation and development of renewable, creation of market incentives that complement government action, greater social and racial justice, and better education and ecological understanding. The new generation must pursue all these goals and protect the gains of the last half century.
We can safely say that there is enough work ahead to keep all serious environmental workers busy for a lifetime. Conservation, environmental protection, and creating a sustainable future are the work of the 21st century.
It’s a sobering yet optimistic time that you’ve chosen to begin an environmental career. Congratulations on your commitment and interest!