The Driving Force Behind Environmental Jobs

I am not ranting about the plethora of jobs in the environment, but the hypocrisy that surrounds it. All the jobs I have reviewed that are available in the environmental field require a ‘valid driver’s license’ at least. Why is this? You would think that someone who wishes to get involved in protecting the environment would be able to get a job where they’re not deliberately polluting the world.

Really, why is this the case? I study about protecting the environment, understand the many problems that are happening in the world like greenhouse gas emissions and then knowing what you can do about it to do your part. But it turns out you can’t do your part because if you want a job – a major goal upon graduation from university – you need to have your driver’s license so that you can drive, and continue to pollute the world, supporting the oil industry that only seems to be perpetuating destruction. Why be an advocate for the health of the environment if your job requires you to go against what you ‘believe’?

I believe it’s the way the world is structured. There are no ways to go about living in the world without driving around – there are jobs that require you to travel to remote locations to take samples and such. You live in a suburb where the grocery store is too far away. If people had better urban planning skills they wouldn’t space common necessities so far away you need to drive to get to them. People living in the west end of Peterborough need to drive to grocery stores and other modern conveniences to live. And there’s also the media portraying the need for everyone to have the privilege to drive. You want the independence to go wherever you want whenever you want. Jobs force you to drive because that’s what they want. They want you to become part of the system. And what choice do you have? You need money.

The world is structured on money. Without money you don’t have much. You won’t have access to resources like food, water, and shelter. Essential services like getting your hair cut (although if you’re ambitious enough you could probably do it yourself) is now dependent upon whatever money you have.

How do you get the money you need to survive in a capitalist society? You’ll relinquish your primary goal in protecting environment to perpetuate the destructive world that humans have shaped it as. You can’t do anything without money, and to get money you must pollute the environment. This is what the Conservatives want. Jobs. No matter what the consequences. Why? All because people need money.

What people don’t seem to understand is that if money is the primary motivating factor, people won’t see the harm that they are bestowing upon the world. And why should they? At the moment their lives are comfortable – they have an income, food, water- for now. Continual push for jobs that harm the environment will only further the inevitable destruction that we are doing to the world. It’s not really about saving other species as it as about saving ourselves.

To be honest, that was actually my primary goal for choosing environmental science. I was thinking, “Hey! I know the world is in trouble – I’d really appreciate a clean world where I don’t have to worry about breathing in dioxins, furans, PCBs, where there are no more landfills and people manufacture their products that are fully recyclable, where all our energy comes from renewables.”

But now I’ve realized the error/foolishness of this dream of mine. The world is not structured to support these kinds of solutions. People want to make money. Right now, there is still a high demand for oil. Oil is a major contributor to Canada’s economy – there are lots of jobs with the Tar Sands and the employees make quite good pay. But this is all temporary.

You can’t even avoid the need for oil/fuel because the electric grid isn’t ready for electrically powered cars – if everyone had one, then there would likely be power failure or no power. And then there’s the argument that goes, “Well, if you need a car, why not a hybrid?” Well, typically hybrids sell for a lot more money than your standard car. And why is that? Well, hybrids utilize both oil and electricity for power. And because of this, you won’t need to buy as much oil to get your car running. Which is why you’ll need a lot more money to purchase one of these cars, since you’re saving money on gas in the long run. So, how do you get the money for the vehicle? You need a job! The world needs to change, and I’m not so sure it’s going to.