Tips on starting your eco-career

On Monday April 22nd, 2002, the Oberlin Design Initiative hosted a panel of local environmental professionals to discuss the many paths to social change within this growing movement. The panelists included Sadhu Johnston, director of the Green Building Coalition; Brad Masi, director of the Ecological Design Innovation Center; Dan Martin, director of the Lorain County MetroParks; Jim LaRue, owner of Housemender Inc., Karen Schaefer, environmental reporter for WCPN radio and our very own Manda Gillespie of EcoCity Cleveland.

The panelists represented a diversity of career paths and discussed the pros and cons of working for a government agency, private company or non-profit. They also discussed the difficulties of starting an organization compared to the difficulties of trying to work within an existing organization.

All the panelists emphasized the importance of using any job to further a holistic view of the world and taking all opportunities to improve local economies, community education and the environment.

The panelists also provided career advice for those wanting to enter the field such as:

1. Learn to write grants and be able to present your vision and goals clearly and succinctly.
2. Be comfortable with handling money, numbers and organization economics.
3. Foster relationships with people who are unlike you, in background, race, opinions and politics (for the environmental movement to be successful in improving the lives of everyone, it must include everyone)
4. Take opportunities that feel rightwhatever the job, look for ways to bring your ethics into your work. Do not take for granted the importance of working within the system to make it more effective as well as the importance of remaining effective in jobs outside the system.
5. The most important job you will do is to become involved in your community, and bring your ideals alive in your back yard.



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EcoCity Cleveland
3500 Lorain Avenue, Suite 301, Cleveland OH 44113
Cuyahoga Bioregion
(216) 961-5020
Copyright 2002-2003

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