Q: Where can I find out about environmental jobs or internships?
A: First of all, how 'bout a round of applause. Anyone willing to dedicate his or her weekends or entire work life to an environmental cause of some sort deserves our support. In fact, blessed souls like you shouldn't have to search out such opportunities; they should be announced on massive roadside billboards instead of ads for cars and soap! But until that day, there are plenty of resources at your fingertips to help you find what you're looking for. You just have to, you know, know what you're looking for. Yes, you can contact each and every enviro-bent company and organization you can think of to see if it happens to have a slot to fill. Or you can try more of a one-stop-shopping approach and check out employment databases online specifically for earth-lovin' people like you.
EcoEmploy.com (which also goes by ejobs.org) is a good one. It lists government openings at the federal, provincial and local level in Canada and south of the border, as well as postings at enviro agencies, NGOs and corporations looking for everything from foresters and oceanographers to media relations people and executive directors. It even offers resumé tips and advice on getting an American work visa. It's not very slick, but it is pretty user-friendly. You can pull out all the job listings for Ontario, BC or what-not.
Have you always wanted to take a crack at managing Walkerton's troubled water system? You're in luck. The Ontario Environment Network ( oen.ca) has a posting for the position on its job board. CanadianEnvironmental.com has a smaller database of jobs divided by province. People and Planet Friendly's Good Work Canada (www.planetfriendly.net/goodwork) is a more comprehensive listing of paid placements across the country, with a sprinking from the U.S. and elsewhere.
If your heart is set on greening the American dream, you should know about EnvironmentalCareer.com. Well-laid-out listings give you the down-low on working as an environmental planner in Vegas or Wyoming. Turns out the U.S. Army is looking for a pollution prevention manager in Kuwait, if you're up for the job. The site even has a whole publication dedicated to the topic - namely, the Green Careers Journal.
If you're having trouble finding work, I have three tips: volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! Even if you're not looking to pad your resumé and just want to get off the couch and put your spare time to good use, there are countless organizations out there that can use a helping hand.
The Ontario Environment Network has a massive directory listing over 900 eco-groups. Browse through it to find a group that interests you, then give 'em a call. And the Environmental Volunteer Network's message board is a good source of listings for opportunities specific to the GTA (www.trca.on.ca/events/volunteer/jobs.asp).
For those with a more global scope in mind, PlanetVolunteer.net lists tons of green opportunities, from electricians needed in southern France to stream monitors and publishing interns wanted in Toronto. More daring eco-warriors will even find challenging postings like an internship working with the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, actually in Sierra Leone. University grads seeking experience abroad should look into CIDA's International Youth Internship Program (www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/internships). Environmental internships in Canada and abroad are also posted at Campusaccess.com.
Getting down and dirty with Mother Earth your thing? Wwoofing (World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and Gardens) has nothing to do with canine mating calls, as the name implies, but it does involve digging up gardens. It's a volunteer opportunity to visit an organic farm anywhere in the world, get some fresh air and learn all about organic agriculture through hands-on experience. Get free room and board in exchange. You can Wwoof for a week, a month or a year - it's up to you. There are 400 places to Wwoof in Canada alone (see www.wwoof.ca), but wherever there's an organic farm in the world you can probably Wwoof.
If you're serious about learning organic growing skills and have eight weeks to prove it, get in touch with the sustainable farming apprenticeship program run by BC-based SOIL (Stewards of Irreplaceable Land, 250-642-3671, www.soilapprenticeships.org). It's kind of like starring in your own version of The Apprentice, with a hoe and pitchfork rather than a briefcase and suit.
Perhaps you have green visions of starting your own sustainable business, like an organic sock store or a paper clip recycling centre. Check out Sustainable Business Online Resources to get info for small and mid-sized enterprises on accessing capital and lots of helpful links (www.communityfutures.ca/provincial/Sustain-ableBusiness).
York U offers a graduate diploma in business and the environment if you want to refine your green biz knowledge, and the University of Victoria and Calgary offer similar courses.
Want to create a save-the-purple-cockatoo campaign of your own? The Sustainability Network (www.sustain.web.ca) has all kinds of suggestions for finding funders, writing grants and such.
FYI, an environmental career information expo and job fair is being held May 15 (1:30 to 4 pm) at the Doubletree International Plaza Hotel (655 Dixon, www.enviroanalysis.ca). Couldn't hurt to check it out.
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