Environmental science is a broad term that integrates atmospheric sciences, ecology, environmental chemistry and geosciences in order to learn about the environment and search for solutions to environmental issues.
Environmental scientists study such subjects as understanding processes of the earth, pollution control, natural resources management, alternative energy systems, and global climate change.
Atmospheric sciences are focused on the atmosphere of the earth and how it relates to other systems. Careers in this field can include meteorology, research and development, climatology and air quality.
Climatologists use long-term data like temperature, rainfall and wind speed to study trends and predict potential issues that may cause problems. Meteorologists study short-term weather patterns to provide upcoming weather forecasts.
Entry level meteorologists and climatologists can expect a salary in the range of $50,000 per year.
Climate change has affected every area of the globe, impacting the lives and environment of everyone on earth. Preserving and maintaining the world’s ecosystems in crucial to life as we know it.
Ecology is defined as the interaction between organisms and the environment. Ecologists study how human activities affect other living things and the area in which they live.
Ecologists are often found working for environmental groups and organizations, government institutions and in the education field. Zoos often employ wildlife ecologists to help maintain the animals’ health and habitats. Ecologists can also find employment as consultants, research scientists, resource managers and park naturalists.
A wildlife ecologist who is new to the industry can look to earn approximately $50,000 per year.
Ecologists also provide valuable information about how the earth’s resources can be used in a way that ensures the environment remains healthy for generations to come.
Environmental chemistry involves the study of how different chemicals react in the environment. Environmental chemists strive to improve the health and safety of people and the areas in which they live and work, evaluating how chemicals enter the environment and what effects they have.
Some examples of jobs in this sector include positions in water treatment and waste disposal, research and education, environmental analysis, and health and safety coordination.
Water treatment plant operators typically earn around $30 per hour as an entry level wage.
David FritzBSc, CIH, ROH is an Occupational Hygiene Consultant in theHuman Resource Services Department at the City of Winnipeg. He explains, “Occupational hygienists keep workers, and the communities surrounding workplaces, healthy and safe. They also ensure compliance with laws and regulations in the work environment.”
“Occupational hygienists assess health risks in a workplace; sample air to determine if there are harmful substances present; measure noise levels in factories; supervise the safe removal of asbestos from buildings; and provide practical advice on how workers can be protected from job-related health and safety risks.”
“The job offers great variety and challenge – today I am dealing with concerns related to mould in city arenas, silica dust exposure concerns during concrete cutting, indoor air quality in an office during renovations, and reviewing reports on asbestos abatement projects and diesel exhaust exposure assessments,” Fritz adds.
The average annual salary for occupational hygienists in Canada is around $55,000 but with experience they can earn $90,000+.
The study of geosciences includes geology and soil sciences. This involves studying the composition and structure of the earth’s crust, examining rocks, minerals and fossils to see how they affect the development of the earth, and finding gas and mineral deposits and underground sources of water.
Geosciences graduates can be found working as anthropologists, engineers, archeologists and scientists in such industries as mining, energy production, and more.
A petroleum geologist with a bachelor degree can earn from $80,000 to $180,000 as their experience grows. Someone with a master’s degree may earn significantly more.
Geology is important to everyday life. Geologists research climate change in the past to deliver essential predictions about the future and how all global citizens can live more sustainably.
Employment predictions for careers in the environmental sciences sector indicate further growth in the industry increasing demand for qualified employees. Many of the new jobs will be related to managing environmental concerns over climate change and the depletion of resources, as well as developing new ways to utilize and sustain the natural resources that are so important to the lives and economy of all Canadians.
By Sharon Frank