Baruch must promote sustainability as lucrative and responsible field


Climate change is real. The  consequences of how global governments and media address this reality may very well determine human survival on Earth.

The unfortunate truth is that there are people who are afraid to acknowledge the pervasiveness of climate change. This is not to say they are downright deniers such as President Donald Trump and Republican Scott Pruitt, but at the same time they are not exempt from self-scrutiny either.

In prioritizing other aspects of their lives, like landing that promising corporate offer that will give them the social mobility that they crave, many people construct a certain psychological distance to remove them from the salience of climate change’s effects. The truth is that on a deeply subconscious level, humans feel powerless to stopping the environment’s destruction, but they no longer need to feel that way.

When it comes to climate change, people need to alter the apocalyptic narrative by taking the time to understand how they fit into their respective ecosystems. Everyone must be more inquisitive of the things that they take for granted, like running water and the gas that lights their stoves.

The disastrous hurricanes and deadly forest fires of late were not spontaneous events. The monsoons and droughts in the Southern Hemisphere are not happening in vain. Sending relief to Puerto Rico, altruistic as it is, is not enough. Instead of only spurring themselves into action in response to natural disasters, environmental foresight should be the driving force behind one’s actions so that they may mitigate the effects of future disasters.

Adopting a firmer environmental conscience not only helps preserve the planet but offers opportunities that are parallel to anyone’s self-interest.  When one looks at it this way, they may find that to be environmentally conscious is not mutually exclusive to attaining a fulfilling livelihood. To be environmentally conscious does not simply mean a person must migrate to remote villages and live simple lives to reduce their carbon footprints. With social responsibility becoming increasingly more important, businesses are becoming environmentally aware, providing opportunities for lucrative careers in sustainability.

Building sustainable infrastructures and getting creative about energy will gradually disrupt the status quo of non-renewable resource utilization.  For nearly every product one may consume, there are companies that produce and supply an eco-friendly competitor. By broadening one’s knowledge on environmental issues, they are not only helping the planet but increasing their individual opportunities for possible careers.

Sustainability must not be far-removed from mainstream industry. In fact, it has progressively become a thriving career field and is one of the most rapidly growing industries. Within the field of sustainability, there is an array of specializations to pursue in business, energy, engineering and more.  According to GreenBiz Group’s 2013 State of the Profession Report, “in the years between 2005 and 2008, 125 US companies added their first full-time sustainability positions.” The College Board has also reported sustainability consulting will be the industry with the newest jobs between 2008 and 2018, with a total of 83 percent job growth.

It is in Baruch College’s best interest to impart the essential knowledge of environmental issues because companies will increasingly come to demand it. The more one knows about how they fit into the global ecology puzzle, the more competent they will feel to change everyone’s existence for the better.

The current degradation of the environment presents students with various ways to repair the damage. Much like the rapidly changing climate, humans need to sublimate the perils of powerlessness by doing the work.

Noorelhuda Mohamed, Aaron Rampersad and Melissa Telez collaborated to contribute this article.