An Domhan & An Timpeallacht

Are you concerned about the future of the Earth? How is global climate changing?  How and where should we dispose of industrial waste? Are you curious as to how society's growing demands for energy and water can be satisfied, while conserving natural resources for future generations? 

If these are the kind of issues that interest you, then a future career in the area of Earth Science and the Environment might just be for you. Earth Scientists play a central role in the race to understand how dynamic Earth systems are changing and what we might be able to do about such change. Earth Scientists also play a crucial role in our search for sustainable use and management of natural resources.

Over the past decade, heightened public awareness of environmental issues, together with EU legislation have led to growth in environmental careers, particularly in the areas of waste and energy management, and sustainable development. Ireland is legally obliged by the EU to ensure that by 2020, at least 16% of all energy consumed in the state is from renewable sources, with a sub-target of 10% in the transport sector.

The current Government strategy document 'Strategy for Renewable Energy 2012-2020' acknowledges renewable energysmart grid development, and energy efficiency products and services as key sub-sectors of the green economy going forward. The global clean tech market is estimated at 3.5 trillion Euro with the potential to grow by more than 4% per year up to 2015, and potential for the creation of an additional 10,000 jobs across the sector.

The range of employers who recruit in this area is large and includes:

  • Voluntary sector (e.g. conservation charities, pressure groups)
  • Public sector (e.g. regulatory bodies, such as local authorities, the Environmental Protection Agency, research institutes, education establishments)
  • Private sector (e.g. industry - including the ESB, Bord Gáis and Bord na Móna, along with those involved in resource management, such as the water and forestry industries, environmental consultants)

People can be employed in a wide variety of activities in the sector ranging from site identification, ecology, archaeology, aviation, civil and project management, grid connection, electrical installation and forestry services to name but a few.

People who work the 'Life Sciences' - the earth, science and environment sector, also gather and interpret data about the earth and its environment, as well as about other planets in the solar system. They use their knowledge to increase our understanding of how the Earth functions, in order to improve the quality of human life. This work is often divided between time spent in the field, in the laboratory, and in the office. The work that scientists are engaged with in this sector could involve all or any combinations of the following tasks:

  • Developing natural resources such as wind, wave and solar energy in ways that safeguard the environment.
  • Predicting the behaviour of Earth systems and the universe.
  • Finding adequate supplies of natural resources, such as ground water, petroleum, and metals.
  • Conserving soils and maintaining agricultural productivity.
  • Maintaining quality of water supplies.
  • Reducing human suffering and property loss from natural hazards, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, landslides, hurricanes, and tsunamis.

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