Utne Blogs > Wild Green

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.

 

dejiridoo
10/1/2010 10:38:01 AM

The call for more ecologists seems like a good one. However, it's a pretty cheap shot for you to compare them to lawyers. First of all, many ecologists are also lawyers. Second, many lawyers promote ecology or environmental regulations, creating needed space for ecologists to perform their important work. Third, the comparison is a little bit silly, somewhat like writing "we should have more ecologists, not television anchors." Apples and oranges. I find these sorts of articles especially insulting for someone who has dedicated his career to social justice--including environmental causes. Do some research about environmental lawyers. Surely, they are needed to? Right?