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Environmental News

"EARTH TALK"

From the Editors of E / The Environmental Magazine

THIS WEEK'S COLUMN

Dear EarthTalk: I understand that there are many internships available at environmental organizations, some involving working outdoors, some year-round with expenses paid. Where do I find these? – Jason Baar, Los Angeles, CA

Many businesses, non-profits and governmental organizations offer environmental internships ranging from office work to working outdoors. Pictured: Student Conservation Association interns on the job at Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington State.

Photo: National Park Service

Internships can provide professional experience and on-the-job training for individuals looking to enter the environmental field. There are numerous opportunities and the key is to know where to look. Many businesses, non-profits and governmental organizations offer internships that are environmentally focused and can range from office work in many different departments to working outdoors, some year-round and some short term. Compensation also varies significantly and can range from unpaid (but earning college credit) to salaried and/or all-expenses-paid.

A good place to start is the Student Conservation Association (SCA), which places over 2,000 interns a year and focuses on expense paid year round internships, many of which are outdoors. They partner with public and private organizations along with federal agencies and prescreen applicants to create a national pool of candidates for organizations to select from to bring in for interviews. Internships through SCA can offer anywhere from $75-$300 per week in living expenses, plus housing, travel and medical costs. In addition, an Americorps education award may be available to interns at the completion of their internship.

The Environmental Careers Organization (ECO) is also a well known resource for finding internships for bachelors, masters and doctoral students and recent graduates. This program partners with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and through paid internships has turned out professionals in the environmental field for over 30 years. ECO selects 500 associates each year for 12-week to two-year internships. Sponsoring organizations offer internships in research and training programs in addition to office, laboratory and field work assignments. Associates earn between $400 and $800 per week and may also be compensated for relocation costs, housing, travel, and career development.

A few other places to look are EcoEmploy and Internmatch. EcoEmploy is a database of hundreds of non-profits, governmental agencies and companies whose work is in the environmental field. This comprehensive list, organized by state, offers a way to find organizations that may offer jobs or internships. Internmatch posts internships in several categories throughout the country and has a section dedicated to environmental internships. They range from summer to year round and paid to non-paid.

In addition to these resources, environmental departments within universities often post internship opportunities for students as well as other tips for finding and researching potential internships.

CONTACTS: The Student Conservation Association, www.thesca.org, The Environmental Careers Organization, www.eco.org; EcoEmploy, www.ecoemploy.com; Internmatch, www.internmatch.com.

 
A NEW SET OF ANSWERS IS FEATURED EACH WEEK!

 

Dear EarthTalk: Some green groups are promoting the simple notion of sharing as a way to green communities and combat waste. Can you explain? – Becky Lipscomb, Centereach, NY

In a shareable world, things like car sharing, clothing swaps, childcare coops, potlucks and cohousing make life more fun, green and affordable.

Photo: Clapstar, courtesy Flickr

The convergence of environmental awareness and consumer culture has created a whole new movement today whereby sharing is cool. Indeed, some environmentalists view sharing as key to maintaining our quality of life and our sanity in an increasingly cluttered world.

“Sharing is a relatively simple concept and a basic part of human life,” reports Janelle Orsi on Shareable, an online magazine that tells the story of sharing. “What’s new is that people are applying sharing in innovative and far-reaching ways, many of which require complex planning, new ways of thinking and organizing, and new technologies. In short, people are taking sharing to new levels, ranging from relatively simple applications of sharing to community-wide sharing initiatives—and beyond.”

“In a shareable world, things like car sharing, clothing swaps, childcare coops, potlucks, and cohousing make life more fun, green, and affordable,” reports Shareable. “When we share, not only is a better life possible, but so is a better world.”

The non-profit Freecycle Network, which runs a Craigslist-style website where people can list items they want to give away, pioneered using the Internet to facilitate diverting reusable goods from landfills when it launched back in 2003. To date, more than nine million individuals across 5,000 different regions have used the group’s freecycle.org website to find new homes for old items.

According to Shareable, other examples such as Zipcar, Wikipedia, Kiva and Creative Commons show how successful sharing can be. “They show what’s possible when we share. They show that we don’t act merely for our own good, but go out of our way to contribute to the common good. They show that we can solve the crises we face, and thrive as never before. They show that a new world is emerging where the more you share the more respect you get, and where life works because everyone helps each other.”

Shareable and the Center for a New American Dream, a non-profit that highlights the connections between consumption, quality of life and the environment, have collaborated on the production of the new “Guide to Sharing,” a free downloadable booklet loaded with practical ideas about exchanging stuff, time, skills and space. Some of the ideas in the guide include: organizing a community swap; starting a local toy, seed or tool library; launching a skills exchange where community members can swap professional skills like carpentry or grant-writing; or setting up a food, transportation or gardening co-op. Some other sharing tips include car-sharing, gift circles, sharing backyard chickens with neighbors and launching a “free market” where people meet to trade skills and stuff.

For her part, Janelle Orsi envisions a future where public land is dedicated to community gardening, public libraries also lend tools, equipment and other goods, and citywide bike sharing, carpooling and wifi programs are all the rage. Orsi and others warn we had better get used to sharing, as it is here to stay.

CONTACTS: Freecycle Network, www.freecycle.org; Shareable, www.shareable.net; Center for a New American Dream, www.newdream.org.

A SYNDICATED COLUMN ONLY ON AMERICAJR.COM

 

 

 

 

 

SEND IN YOUR QUESTIONS...

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.

 

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