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What are some resources I can use to educate myself about sustainability and possibly enter the field? What are your favorites?


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Gary’s Answer

A great place to start is go to the USGBC website. https://www.usgbc.org/education

They can jump start your career in sustainability and green building operations.
They have many courses to help guide you to sustainability.

Many buildings including Willis Tower have been investing in green building operations.
Recently we committed to purchase 100 % green energy, along with many other measures of sustainability.

Good luck with your quest.

GM

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Amanda’s Answer

Great timing for this question as it is Climate Week and the conference is free and virtual this year. (https://www.climateweeknyc.org). There are sessions all day and night since this is a global event. I am coming from the perspective of reporting out sustainable activities for our company, so you could read a handful of ESG or Sustainability or Corporate Responsibility reports for companies you admire. Sustainability can contain many topics underneath, so depending on your interest, you can narrow your search. On our Sustainability team, we have people responsible for Marketing the messages (not only annual reporting, but marketing throughout the year), others whose role it so work with the rest of the company on specific topics and help them embed that knowledge within their own business decisions and there are data scientists who are working to gather data, analyze and apply math to reach a final output on emissions saved, plastics removed, waste reduced, etc. I have a degree in Marketing with a minor in Statistics and just started working with the sustainability space. Others have Environmental Science degrees, Economics, Business, Paper Manufacturing, etc.

Thank you so much for the link and helpful information!! Marketing sustainability initiatives seems like a possible avenue for me! Thanks again. Ana V.

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Samantha’s Answer

Hi Ana,

I think it is great that you are curious about this and want to study it and make it a career! I think the world needs more people like you. I currently attend a University in Florida and we are incredibly sustainable. There are usually a lot of resources with a quick google search. I saw you are asking from Mass. and I did a quick search on sustainability in Massachusetts and came across this https://environmentmassachusetts.org/ .

When it comes to finding jobs there are so many games out there that can use someone to help make a company more sustainable or just working on keeping a place maintained and sustainable. I would get in contact with some local buisness or even start volunteering with some different places to get a foot in the door.

Hope this helps!

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Lesley’s Answer

I love to hear this question! It's more important than ever to integrate sustainability into our professional work. Sustainability is incredibly inter-disciplinary; every industry needs to integrate it, and every role in an industry needs to incorporate sustainability. So, there's plenty of work to be done, but it can be very overwhelming to know where to begin.

I double majored in English Writing and Environmental Science, worked in environmental non-profits and taught English in France, then pursued a Professional Master's of Science in Environmental Management and Sustainability. I was able to enter the workforce as a graduate hire in a tech company to help them build out part of their sustainability strategy focused on how we engage employees to help us meet our sustainability goals. Then I was able to look at product design and use, how we talk to our customers about using technology sustainably, how we design and refocus our value chain to be more circular and phase out waste. Now I'm in a different perspective working on a social justice strategy that not only seeks to include, life, empower and promote underrepresented voices within our company and across the communities we touch, but ensure our work to mitigate climate change and environmental devastation builds upon the perspective that marginalized groups are the ones most affected by these problems.

That said, there's a LOT of ways you can help. I think asking this question is a good first step!

Lesley recommends the following next steps:

Learn as much as you can.
Reflect on what's speaking to you. Does renewable energy infrastructure excite you? Does improving public transportation sound interesting? Are you excited about sustainable textiles or materials? What about plant-based foods?
As you unpack all the different ways we can evolve our systems and society to be regenerative, focus on the areas where you think your interests, perspective and strengths can make the most impact.
Then find out what knowledge or experience you might need to be successful and what organizations/companies/institutions etc might hire someone to do the kind of work you're interested in
Lastly, start to build out your roadmap to entering the field. This could be reaching out to those groups you identified, volunteering to get experience with similar projects, attending conferences or networking sessions (even virtually!)

Hi Lesley, this is good information but could you also follow up with more info on educational resources in sustainability? I think that would better help address the student's question Gurpreet Lally

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Bryce’s Answer

Hi Ana,

Love to see that you are taking your own initiative. The world needs more people who are educated on sustainability, so we can combat the ever growing issues caused by climate change. There are resources all around you to gain information on climate change and sustainability. The best way to find information is to do research online. I would recommend using google scholar as that will present highly creditable sources that are often peer reviewed by others in the field. Also, websites like NASA, IPCC, NOAA, and others can provide very beneficial resources on sustainability and climate change.

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Gary’s Answer

A great place to start is go to the USGBC website. https://www.usgbc.org/education

They can jump start your career in sustainability and green building operations.
They have many courses to help guide you to sustainability.

Many buildings including Willis Tower have been investing in green building operations.
Recently we committed to purchase 100 % green energy, along with many other measures of sustainability.

Good luck with your quest.

GM

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