Careers 'Go Green'

Wednesday, August 20th 2008, 7:11 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

More and more people are taking their chosen fields and giving them an eco-twist.

Whether you're a wedding planner or a wine dealer, furniture maker or a contractor, these days' careers are all about the "green", and not the green that comes in the form of money.

"Well, there's definitely a boom in Eco-friendly jobs, that's for sure," Marie Kerpan with Green Careers said.

Kerpan is the founder of Green Careers. She specializes in helping professionals find environmentally friendly jobs and said you don't need to be a scientist with a PhD. to do so.

"'Green' careers not only includes the traditional environmental jobs, but now we're including all these jobs that have to do with businesses, really, converting products and services to less toxic, less wasteful," Kerpan said.

Kerpan said as more jobs "Go Green", all kinds of new opportunities are being created, whether you're a lawyer or a designer.

"Well, the good news is that you don't have to have any particular type of background to have a ‘green' career. It simply needs that you have to take a look at what are your skills, and what are you interested in, in terms of the evolving ‘green' economy, and simply apply your skills in that direction," Kerpan said.

Applying her skills in a "green" direction is exactly what Nancy Lowell did. She had a culinary background and now works for a grocery chain that keeps the planet in mind.

"We used to say ‘Paper or plastic?' and now we can say, 'Paper or did you bring your reusable bag?'" Lowell said.

They also compost and Nancy's store has reduced its waste by 80 percent.

"I think our goal for next year will be 90 percent," Lowell said.

Earth friendly vacations are the goal for Dennis Quaintance, President of Proximity Hotel. He just built what's being billed as the country's first ‘green' hotel from the ground up.

"We're able to use a lot less energy, about 41 percent less energy, than a comparable hotel," Quaintance said.

Thanks to low flow toilets and eco-friendly lighting and paint, there's also a special elevator that generates its own power and a roof with 4,000 square feet of solar panels. He said it was a whole new world for construction workers, decorators and hotel staff.

"We used people that we've worked with for years and said clearly we are going to be building a lot more green buildings in the future let's learn together," Quaintance said.

Nancy is still learning as she goes, but said, for her, the words ‘eco-friendly' is more than just a catch phrase.

"It's important both in my career and my life because I'm very invested in the future and the kind of world that my generation leaves behind," Lowell said.

Kerpan cautions there are many different levels of eco-awareness. When job hunting, if you're looking to find a company with a strong commitment to sustainability, she advises to do your homework. She recommends researching the company's environmental policies and asking specific questions about policies and performance during your interview.