Good environmental policies can be hugely effective for helping protect environments and lead societies to greater sustainability. Often, however, concessions are made to environmental public policies in the name of promoting business interests, or because to do the right thing for the environment might be costly in the short term. These concessions, unsurprisingly, can lead to poor outcomes for affected ecological systems, and for the communities that rely on them.
Dedicated action by trained scientists can help ensure better outcomes through thoughtful and decisive policies designed to protect the environment. Wondering how you might be able to contribute to this kind of work after you finish your degree? Here are a few examples of ways you can influence policy.
Use Your Master’s Degree in Professional Science to Make a Case in Dollars and Cents
Though many involved in public policy are greatly motivated by a desire to protect the environment, there are also quite a few people for whom environmental protection is not especially important. Notably, some individuals are more concerned with expense, and want their budget or tax dollars to go towards the least expensive policies, regardless of whether that might carry with it an environmental cost.
It is often true, however, that the most sustainable or environmentally friendly option, even when more expensive up front, is the more economical choice overall. For example, investing in larger-scale green energy projects might be more expensive than opening a coal-burning plant, but factor in the environmental and health costs of the latter and it soon becomes clear that renewable alternatives like solar and wind have a lower overall cost.
Throughout their development, environmental policies are likely to run up against either strict limitations on financial resources, or political pressure directed at maintaining low expenses. This should be seen both as a challenge and an opportunity.
Professionals who train in environmental science and sustainability at a top school like Unity College receive valuable instruction in innovative approaches to business and investment. Through this training, they could help to convince decision-makers of the opportunities for long-term savings presented by green investment in the present. With the credibility lent by their authority, it’s possible for real, positive influence to be exerted in the movement to achieve better environmental policy.
Use Your Science Background to Build a Groundswell of Public Support for Green Initiatives
Though the majority of active climate scientists agree that global warming is ongoing, caused by human activity, and a threat to human wellbeing and survival, the American population is not nearly as unified.
About 31 percent of Americans believe that climate change is the result of natural causes, and around 20 percent that there is no evidence to suggest that it exists at all. This has obvious implications for public policy – approximately half of the population does not understand that decisive action must be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In democratic society, one of the most important ways a professional with a Master’s Degree in Professional Science can lead the way to greater sustainability is to galvanize the electorate into supporting more meaningful environmental policies. By training to be effective social marketers and community leaders, these environmental experts can help convince individuals and communities of the importance of taking decisive environmental action and supporting policies that do.
Top environmental schools will provide expert instruction in transdisciplinary skills in science and communication necessary for an individual to become a capable advocate to the public. Applying these skills to developing communications expressing the need for environmental action, and the consequences for inaction, could slowly help turn the tide of public opinion and build greater support for more ambitious green policy.
Do you want to gain the skills necessary to transform public policy for the better?
Contact Unity College to learn about our online environmental science degree programs!