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A 2021 Pew Research survey shows that 76 percent of Gen Z individuals (people born between 1995 and 2012) list climate change as one of their biggest societal concerns. 32 percent have also participated in significant environmental actions during the past year. Due to a heightened climate awareness, multiple surveys show that a surprising number of people under 25 are pursuing careers and degrees related to the environment.
According to Optimist Daily, universities are matching the demand for climate action among students with initiatives like the University of Southern California’s Sustainability Across the Curriculum program, which wants to teach students from all disciplines how their majors intersect with sustainability and the environment, according to Optimist Daily.
The global curriculum coordinator at New York University’s environmental studies program, Christopher Schlottmann, explains to the Guardian that the fixed idea that environmental careers don’t pay well is changing as well:
“There’s a general reputation that if you do good for the world, nobody’s going to pay you to do it. I don’t think that’s that accurate,” he says. “If you understand how climate change works, then a bank should want to talk to you because they want to hedge their risk.”
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistic’s predictions, opportunities for environmental scientists and other related specialists will grow by 8 percent over the coming decade.