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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


We Need More Ecologists, Not Lawyers

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: environment, sustainability, sustainable business, ecology, lawyers, climate change, Keith Goetzman,

More Ecologists, Not Lawyers PostOn a planet with a changing climate and dwindling resources, we need a lot more sustainability experts and a lot fewer legal experts, David A. Bainbridge suggests at Triple Pundit. Bainbridge notes that there are more than a million lawyers in America and only about 10,000 professionally trained ecologists:

If our priorities were more properly ordered to promote sustained abundance, the balance between new ecology graduates and lawyers would be reversed. I can envision a day where 30,000 ecologists and sustainability specialists will graduate each year—and only 100 lawyers. This sounds outrageous, I know, but unraveling the complexities of America’s many varied ecosystems and developing cradle-to-cradle industrial ecosystems that will be good for people and the environment could easily absorb this many green-tech specialists and scientists.

Sustainability programs need the same priority as the “Man on the Moon” push in the 1960s (project Apollo $25 billion) or the National Institute of Health ($31 billon per year). With adequate funding much needed progress could be made ... .

Of course, lawyers are always an easy target, ranking right down there with journalists (ouch) among the lowest-regarded professions. And new multibillion-dollar government expenditures are not exactly commanding widespread support these days. But Bainbridge may be on to something here: He points out that every corporation should have a sustainability specialist, and just staffing the U.S. companies that have annual sales of more than $1 billion would take more than 250,000 such specialists. That's a lot of green jobs.

Laid-off lawyers, your new career awaits.

Source: Triple Pundit 

Image by Alfred Low, licensed under Creative Commons.