In 2020 our lives dramatically changed with COVID-19 and the pandemic that caused global havoc. In the U.S. alone in 2020, the unemployment rate was 8.1%, which was higher than the annual averages for 2009 to 2011. In addition, the economy saw 9.4 million jobs lost in 2020 alone. We need to get to a healthy state of economic recovery now more than ever.

Despite our economy being hard hit by COVID-19, the environmental sector is expected to have the most growth out of all occupations over the coming years. The question on everyone's lips is what the growing environmental job market means for economic recovery.

What Environmental Changes Have We Seen Over the Years?

Over the past 4.5 billion years, Earth and its climate have changed considerably. Understanding the consequences of these environmental changes can be pretty tough to take in. Here are just a few changes we have seen and the impact it has on the environment:

  • The average surface temperature has increased by about 1°F, affecting weather patterns and increasing the frequency of many types of disasters.
  • Sea levels are consistently rising, which can have devastating effects on coastal habitats for humans and animals alike.
  • Burning fossil fuels is one of the leading causes of global warming, as it releases carbon dioxide and other gasses into the atmosphere.
  • Glaciers around the world are losing ice rapidly, which can lead to rising sea levels.

As you can see, these are just a few of the environmental issues we face as the years go by. How do we, as humans, assist in fixing our environment? We have a great number of people in our world who want to work towards a greener future. We’re in a time when the growing environmental job market can positively impact the recovery of our economy.

Climate Change Starts With Green Skills

LinkedIn recently sat down with experts to determine the most essential green skills and which categories they fall into. The group identified 800 "core" skills related to environmentalism and curbing climate change, across 12 distinct categories.

Some of the major categories include water recycling, waste reduction, pollution mitigation and prevention, energy management, environmental policymaking and auditing, sustainability education, and many others.

Growth in these disciplines could create a huge impact across industries and assist in the recovery of our economy. Climate change activists and people who have a passion for helping our environment have fueled this interest in green jobs, with the energy sector seeing the highest growth above any other industry.

How Do Sustainability and Environmental Jobs Connect to Economic Development?

To put it simply, meeting our basic needs is how sustainable development aims at increasing economic growth. Because half of the world's population struggles to meet their everyday basic needs, it puts a large amount of strain on the environment. Things like plastics that are dumped into oceans and big corporations lobbying against clean air and water rules all contribute to the state we've left our world in.

By creating a society where we prosper sustainably, organizations are slowly working toward a brighter and greener future by constantly learning new skills and looking at some of the most essential elements: water, food, energy, waste, and ecology.

This is where the connection comes in. The environmental job market has opened positions in renewable energy sectors, farming, air and water purification, recycling, and initiatives that look at alternatives to overfishing. The more we work towards building a sustainable future, the more money goes back into our economy and, in turn, brings economic recovery in the form of new opportunities for individuals and companies.

Healthy food, conservation, and clean air and water all contribute to basic human needs, resulting in economic benefits. With organizations putting proper organizational practices in place to reduce the damage to our environment, and as consumers change to a greener way of life, we all contribute together to a positive change in our environment.