A UT report Analysis of the link between career growth and green jobs found that jobs that encourage sustainable practices are growing faster than the rest of the workforce in Austin and statewide.
The report was released in August by UT faculty and students involved in the community and regional planning program. The School of Architecture estimates that the number of available green jobs in the Austin area increased from 3.3% to 4.8% between 2010 and 2019. This number is expected to increase exponentially by 2028.
According to the report, Austin is one of the nation’s top environmental cities. UT aligns the city’s steps toward sustainability with its own policies, such as: B. Sustainability plans for each school by 2025 and carbon neutrality by 2033.
“It’s nice to be reminded that there are spaces where you can make real, actionable change,” said Claire Alston, a sustainable design student.
in the 2002, UT founded the Campus Environmental Center, which committed to connecting students, staff and faculty in a collaborative process to make the university sustainable. in the 2020the university received a gold rating from the Sustainability tracking, rating and rating system for its efficient use of energy, reduction of landfill waste and general involvement in becoming a greener institution.
Alston is co-director of the CEC with Parker Lynas, Senior Government and Sustainability Studies. As co-directors, they indicated that they participate in and help lead CEC environmental initiatives with program coordinator Jessi Drummond. Current CEC projects include the UT micro farm, an organic farm that provides food for UT, and Trash2Treasure, a program that turns landfill clothing and school supplies into items that students can buy for $1. All initiatives are student-run and offer hands-on experiences to become sustainable.
“A lot of the information that is being provided to us relates to these inevitable deadlines or to distant (climate) scales,” Lynas said. “It’s nice to be able to work on something and to think that (environmental) projections aren’t necessarily set in stone, especially when there’s this community of people working on things.”
The co-directors said the organization hopes to increase campus participation by students from diverse backgrounds and majors in sustainable events. To encourage this, the organization helped develop a speaker series in which professionals discuss the links between their careers and protecting the environment.
According to the report, women and people of color are underrepresented in environmental justice initiatives. The CEC founded the Environmental Justice Collective to shed light on the intersection between environmental justice and social justice and to encourage more inclusive practices in sustainability.
“It’s also important to highlight these… historically suppressed voices,” said Julianne Bantayan, junior environmental and sustainability studies and co-principal investigator at the EJC. “Because the environmental justice movement is very grassroots and we can’t do that without building a community.”