Nature-Smart Jobs for the Future from Richard Louv, and enter to win a $150 Gift Card from The North Face!

Today we are continuing our celebration of Earth Day with the second installment in Richard Louv’s month long series on “Applying The Nature Principle to Your Life”. You can read the first post in the series here. Each week we will be publishing a post from Richard Louv and giving away a $150 gift certificate to The North Face to one lucky reader. Read Louv’s piece on Nature-Smart Jobs for the Future below. Leave a comment to be entered in the gift certificate drawing, and click here to learn more about his latest book The Nature Principle. (Comments must be posted by midnight on Tuesday, May 2, to be eligible.) 

 

 


Nature-Smart Jobs for the Future (and Right Now), Part I

Want to make a decent living and a better life? Here’s one way. Get a job – a nature-smart job. Or better yet, be a nature-smart entrepreneur. By that, I don’t mean a career devoted only to energy efficiency. That’s important, but there’s a whole new category of green jobs coming. These careers and avocations will help children and adults become happier, healthier, and smarter, by truly greening where people live, work, learn, and play. Here are a few examples.

• Nature-smart workplace architects and designers. Studies of workplaces that have been created or retrofitted through biophilic (love of nature) design show improved product quality, customer satisfaction, and innovation. Successful models include the Herman Miller headquarters building, designed for abundant natural light, indoor plants, and outdoor views, including views of a restored wetlands and prairie on company grounds. After moving into the building, 75 percent of day-shift office workers said they considered the building healthier, and 38 percent said their job satisfaction had improved.

• Restorative employee health and productivity specialists. To reduce employee stress and boost morale, companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Sunset magazine promote on-site organic vegetable gardens. The aircraft manufacturer Airbus now uses wilderness retreats as a reflective catalyst for leadership training. At least one company offers weeklong nature camps for adults who need to recharge their physical, emotional, and intellectual batteries.

• Nature-smart residential builders. They’ll specialize in window appeal (the view of nature from inside the home)—not just curb appeal. They’ll know how to place a new house in sync with the sun’s movements, use local materials to reflect the nature and history of the region, install a super insulated green roof that can last eighty years, design for natural air-conditioning, and weave nature in homes and offices in even the most crowded urban neighborhoods.

• Nature-smart yard and garden specialists will help homeowners and businesses reduce traditional lawns and replace them with bird-attracting native vegetation, butterfly gardens, chlorine-free natural swimming ponds, organic vegetable gardens, beehives, and places to raise chickens and ducks and gather eggs. As local governments continue to loosen regulations on yard farming, and as nearby production of food becomes more important, this specialty will become more popular.

• Urban wildscapers. Urban designers and other professionals who create or redevelop neighborhoods that connect people to nature through the creation of biophilically-designed buildings and preservation of natural land will be increasingly in demand. They will design and establish  biodiverse parks, urban forests and community gardens, wildlife corridors and other wild lands.Seattle recently announced plans for a massive urban forest that will produce free food.

• Outside In decorators will bring the outside in, creating or improving our homes to nurture health and well-being through nature: “living walls” of vegetation that purify air; indoor vertical vegetable gardens with automatic drip-irrigation systems; biophilic decorations such as twig furniture; fluorescent lights that adjust throughout the day via light sensors at the windows; bird-warning elements for windows; indoor water gardens and other living features. So will individual homeowners decorating their own homes. This goes way beyond feng shui.

The list of possible careers can go on. Stream restorers, law-enforcement officials who use nature for crime prevention and improved prison recidivism, specialists in nature-based geriatric services. Once the entrepreneurial spirit kicks in, it’s easy to start thinking of products and services. And when people begin to consider the career possibilities of human restoration through nature, their eyes light up: here is a positive, hopeful view of the human relationship with the Earth, a way to make a living and a life.

 

Richard Louv is the author of “THE NATURE PRINCIPLE: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age,” now available in paperback, from which this piece is adapted. He is Chairman Emeritus of The Children and Nature Network and 2012 spokesperson for the CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year. For more information on his books, visit RichardLouv.com.  Or click here for a free online Field Guide to the New Nature Movement.

 

 

68 Comments On This Post:

April 25, 2012
4:13 pm
Amy Weldon says...

Just bought this and cannot wait to read it. As a college professor, I see the long-term results of “nature deficit disorder” and children’s disconnection from nature every day, and I’m grateful to Richard Louv for tackling this issue so publicly.

April 25, 2012
4:17 pm
Lucas Jones says...

When does this publish?!

April 25, 2012
6:17 pm
bermudaonion (Kathy) says...

I hope he’s right and that we’ll see a trend toward more environmentally conscious jobs.

April 25, 2012
6:37 pm
Margie says...

Oh, how I would love a yard farm! Someday! Thanks for these posts.

April 25, 2012
9:03 pm
CaseyL says...

I look forward to the day that people realize the importance of putting their bodies in nature, as opposed to their cars, their cubicles and on their couches. I see patients every day that would add years to their lives and improve their mental health just by getting out in nature.

April 26, 2012
3:14 am
Janissa P says...

Looks like a great book!

April 26, 2012
6:49 pm
Megan Donckers says...

I recently purchased and use The Last Child In the Woods as a starting point for many of my friends. So grateful to Richard Louv for many things – but especially that he does respond to his emails!

April 26, 2012
6:50 pm
Debbie Sturm says...

This is such a fantastic book! I will actually be incorporating this book and Last Child in the Woods in one of the courses I teach to master’s level counseling students next academic year. I’m hoping we can come up with ways that counselors – in schools and community agencies – can bring a little more “nature-smart” to their “jobs”!

April 26, 2012
6:50 pm
Megan Donckers says...

oops – I just purchased the Nature Principle – not Last Child In the Woods.

April 26, 2012
6:53 pm
Leslie A. says...

I can’t wait until this is the reality that is faced universally. It is not just that we are killing the planet by ignoring our effects, but we are also as a culture so disconnected from the very source that gives us life, a life we waste by staying indoors the majority of the time. The shift is coming!

April 26, 2012
6:58 pm
Sh Ly says...

Really loving this series. I’m just starting a career and struggling to find a way to keep it ‘green’ as my passion dictates. Thanks for putting ideas into words!

April 26, 2012
7:02 pm
Lisa Reutzel says...

I am reading the book now and loving it. I also enjoyed “Last Child in the Woods.” I have always considered ample time in nature to be absolutely pivotal for my own emotional and psychological well-being, and now I am enjoying sharing my love of nature with my 3-year-old daughter!

April 26, 2012
7:12 pm
Alex says...

Unlocking a Nature-smart attitude at an early age can be crucial for the connectivity students will have with the environment for years to come. Nature-smart teachers can inspire and motivate the next generation of Nature-smart jobs of the future :)

April 26, 2012
7:15 pm
Tai says...

Did you know that communities that plan and design Green Infrastructure (also known as Natural Infrastructure) can increase the economic growth of their area through jobs and recreational opportunities?

April 26, 2012
7:23 pm
Michael Barton says...

I think every elementary school should have a Nature Advocate on staff…

April 26, 2012
7:26 pm
Allison White says...

Love the ideas and that each one inspires more ideas. Preserving and bringing awareness to the importance nature and natural spaces is a worthwhile endeavor.

April 26, 2012
7:49 pm
Pam J says...

Loved Last Child in the Woods. And find being outside in a natural environment works wonders for a child with special needs. Thanks for raising consciousness.

April 26, 2012
8:19 pm
Barbara Terao says...

So many ways to help us stay connected with nature! Thanks for your excellent reminders, no matter what field we’re in.

April 26, 2012
8:21 pm
Sue S says...

I would love to see these wonderful vocations become common in our culture. Maybe then people would be going to their backyards for fast food rather than the drive-thru.

April 26, 2012
8:29 pm
Martin Cloyd says...

I can’t wait to read it!

April 26, 2012
9:48 pm
Kim M. says...

I hope to continue combining my love of nature and my career in education long into the future — that’s pretty “nature smart”…right?! :)

April 26, 2012
10:54 pm
Kim Cormier says...

I got excited just reading some of those nature related careers. I think I would
be great at planning Nature Smart Yards. Thanks for the inspiring article.

April 26, 2012
10:57 pm
Dawn Roumieu says...

Great book. I started a nature club at my child’s elementary school and am hoping to start one in our city. Would love to get back into teaching nature as my career!

April 27, 2012
8:14 am
Monica Young says...

Thank you for the posts :)

April 27, 2012
9:33 am
Janet P says...

Great inspiration here! I especially think that biophilic (love of nature) design is a realistic and effective approach to counteract nature deficit disorder.

April 27, 2012
1:22 pm
Jeanne says...

I enjoy reading about specific examples. I believe most any career can take on an environmentally friendly spin.

April 27, 2012
11:22 pm
Pam Chance says...

http://blog.frankharmon.com/tag/downtown-raleigh/ This is a link to a wonderfully designed building by architect, Frank Harmon in Raleigh, NC. It is the kind of design you mentioned in this article. I can’t wait to obtain a copy of your book to read in its entirety.

April 28, 2012
9:21 am
StaufferJP says...

Great suggestions on nature-related careers! I am interested in knowing what existing companies (beyond Google and Airbus) are developing these nature-related positions or open to them.

April 28, 2012
5:29 pm
Michelle says...

Great article. I really believe that people need to start acting like every day is earth day and we need to start making a difference. A lot of these jobs are so beneficial and I think it is great to see people caring for this beautiful planet we live in.

April 29, 2012
3:13 am
Silvia says...

I think the future for the most part will require an employee who will provide environmentally friendly ideas and solutions to their company. Its not only important for the health our earth but the health of the employees in the future. I have realized that this is the future and I am currently looking for a nature smart job that could lead to a green career. I have been inspired by Richard Louv and thank him for writing the Nature Principle.

April 29, 2012
11:09 am
Nicole J. says...

I am loving this article! I believe this is great to have especially in terms of continuing on with a new generation of nature lovers and environmental educators.

April 29, 2012
12:01 pm
Jess Gerrior says...

Many thanks for this great piece of writing! I just attended a retirement celebration for a great environmental educator, Tom Wessels, who spoke of the need for job QUALITY (vs. job QUANTITY which we hear so much of in the media lately). I feel lucky to have a job where my students and I learn together. Keep up the good work and let me know if you’re a visit to Franklin Pierce University!

April 29, 2012
1:02 pm
Areta May says...

I would love to combine my former career as an educator and nature in the future. My girls love to spend their time outdoors, it would be fantastic to inspire more children to do the same with love!

April 29, 2012
1:02 pm
Areta May says...

I would love to combine my former career as an educator and nature in the future. My girls love to spend their time outdoors, it would be fantastic to inspire more children to do the same with love!

April 29, 2012
1:04 pm
Shelley Martinez says...

This was very inspirational to read. As I think ahead to the next chapter in my life and what my passions are, it always comes back to nature. What could be better than sharing that passion in a productive way with other? :-)

April 29, 2012
1:07 pm
Lori Kiesser says...

Love the idea of company-sponsored nature camps for staff! We have walking meetings on the trails around our office and the meetings are MUCH more productive in less time.

April 29, 2012
3:40 pm
Amy S. Nelson says...

I have been spending much time recently trying to combine my passion for Nature, Children, Travel and Healing into a career that will pay the bills. I have been following you and your organization closely to get ideas. This post was perfect for me, and where I am right now on my life’s journey. Thank you for sparking my inner fire and inspiring me to create my own next labor of LOVE (job). Namaste, Amy Nelson

April 29, 2012
11:08 pm
Nancy Hughes says...

So, a couple of important jobs that weren’t mentioned and not the new kids on the block – parks and recreation staff for cities and counties (though budgets have been slashed for these important jobs); certified arborists – long caring properly for trees and green infrastructure in cities; urban foresters – “seeing the urban forests for the trees” while recognizing all of the services and benefits urban trees deliver to the public such as cleaner air and water, carbon sequestration and reduced energy use (big climate change issues), addressing urban heat islands, and delivering bif time on public health outcomes, etc. These folks recognize that the forests outside your door, where we live, are as important, or possibly more important to health and quality of life of urban residents than the magnificent state and federal forests across the U.S.

April 30, 2012
4:31 am
Monica Young says...

Sounds awesome, I can’t wait!

April 30, 2012
7:53 am
David Stout says...

Great ideas, Richard. One of my old friends was telling me the other day how great it was whenever he got to take his sister’s kids out into the prairie behind their house and show them how to identify insects and plants. I suggested that he try to get a job doing that for other kids, and it was like a revelation for him. Now I read this and it all sounds excellent.

April 30, 2012
9:11 pm
Laurie C says...

The public library I work at has a grant-funded community garden project and story walks planned for spring/summer.

May 2, 2012
11:54 pm
Laura Pare' says...

Thanks for writing an excellent article! It’s wonderful to see the movement of mankind returning to nature.

May 2, 2012
11:54 pm
Anandi Premlall says...

I’m engaging with youth and community through eco-art to add some fun and fresh ideas to the sustainable lifestyle through SustyQ! We just won a grant for our Critical Moss project which involves creating designs out of moss in public spaces. Nature will be everywhere in South Queens, NYC!

May 2, 2012
11:54 pm
Julia R says...

We are working hard to instill a love of nature and a sense of stewardship of the earth in our young son. I would love to see him pursue one of these kinds of careers in the future!

May 3, 2012
12:15 am
Mirandi Watson says...

Great article! I believe we have to start with the children! Help them to get back to nature! They will influence their parents and also be nature lovers as adults! Simple! Keep up the fight!

May 3, 2012
12:15 am
Mirandi Watson says...

Great article! I believe we have to start with the children! Help them to get back to nature! They will influence their parents and also be nature lovers as adults! Simple! Keep up the fight!

May 3, 2012
1:00 am
Diane Doolan says...

I’ve always wanted to be involved with these types of things and now society is beginning to accept this shift “back” to our mindset when we had respect and honor for the earth. How exciting to have the possibility of riding on the precipice of this wave. The difficult thing will be to pick something to focus on when so many sound intriguing. Richard, thank you for all you do. You inspire me to do an be more.

May 7, 2012
2:20 pm
Ryan says...

Great stuff and hope for the future to appreciate and preserve the Lord’s creation while we work and labor. Do you have a list of the companies doing the “nature-smart residential building” currently?

May 8, 2012
10:56 am
Lauren R says...

We need the bird-warning element for our windows now!!

May 8, 2012
10:56 am
Katie says...

This is a wonderful book! It definitely inspired me to make going outside a daily part of my sons routine.

May 8, 2012
10:57 am
Hilary S. says...

I love the idea of becoming a Nature-smart yard and garden specialist. I teach College Composition now and do a unit on food and the importance of local food. Now if we could get back to kitchen gardens and native plants for our yards, we would be on the right track too.

May 8, 2012
10:59 am
Anne Gonnella says...

Wonderful list of future jobs! I’d love to see builders not only design houses to be in sync with nature, but also do so without first completely destroying the environment in which the house is to be built. The trend around here is to name developments after the resource that was demolished to build it, e.g. “orchard acres” and “stream valley overlook”.

May 8, 2012
11:08 am
Nicole Griffin says...

Great article! I believe we have to start with the children! Help them to get back to nature! My children love everything nature and I have two on there own who never wanted to eat meat. So seeing how much they love to give back to nature makes me see how important it is for our children.

May 8, 2012
11:11 am
Amanda Jaros says...

Nice post. Very inspiring. I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s on the list. Thanks for fighting the good fight ya’ll!

May 8, 2012
11:19 am
Lesley W says...

I’m lucky to work for a nature center every day. How many people get to take a hike in the forest on their lunch break?

May 8, 2012
11:21 am
Kim M. says...

I would definitely hire one of those Outside In Decorators! :)

May 8, 2012
11:23 am
Jennifer Aist says...

The fact there you wrote an article on Nature Smart Jobs is evidence that our culture is starting to swing back into balance with nature. About time!

May 8, 2012
11:29 am
Kristy says...

LOVE this! I live and work at an outdoor education and retreat centre. I am continually amazed at the impact even 1 day out in a natural setting can do for people. I met with a group of high risk young adults yesterday for hiking and team building and just being outside….and the transformation was incredible!

The retreat centre focuses on minimizing our environmental impact…our newest project being new cabins…6 of them, all natural or recycled buildings (timberframe/straw bale, earthship with a living roof, log cabin….etc.). A fantastic way to teach the groups that come here about different ways of doing things!

May 8, 2012
11:56 am
Shannon M says...

This makes my heart happy! I look forward to reading the whole book, and I have to say that the whole idea of Outside-In Decorators really gets my mental wheels turning.

May 8, 2012
12:19 pm
Marie says...

Nature-smart yard and garden specialist sounds like an appealing career. And, I’d love to see there being more urban wildscapers as well :)

May 8, 2012
12:43 pm
Dena Norman says...

I think the more enthusiastic we are about teaching our children about the outside world, the more they’ll want to learn! I am continually trying to find ways to get my daughter to appreciate nature – she refuses to help me in the garden and has no interest whatsoever – but her love for unique flowers (black petunias, cacti), river otters, and manatee conservation makes up for all that. Give kids time to find their niche and they’ll be happy to learn and share with others and do so enthusiastically.

May 8, 2012
1:53 pm
Courtney says...

As a public school teacher and former naturalist, I realize more and more each day how nature education will benefit my students to become savvy, energetic, and hard working citizens when they grow up. I have always used environmental education activities and philosophies in my classroom, and continue to find ways to fit it in more frequently. I am now considering doing a mini unit on “nature jobs” so my students will know what they have as options!

May 8, 2012
1:54 pm
Tyler Hall says...

Our office has regular meetings outside, and we participate in the annual America in Bloom competition for our city by designing the community profile and other communication materials. Our company, Wilt PR, has also done work with the local parks districts to pass the most recent levy after six failed attempts. We were recognized for this work with a PRISM award.

I think one of the reasons I love my job so much is the content and material I get to work with. It’s extremely rewarding to reconnect the public with nature through mass communication.

May 8, 2012
3:57 pm
Lori Biamonte says...

I am a teacher in an Outdoor Pre-K program, and I greatly appreciate the work of urban wildscapers and nature smart gardeners. Their work is continually an inspiration for learning for my children and their parents. I love to research what others are doing outdoors to get ideas for sparking the kids’ interest!

May 8, 2012
5:36 pm
Katie says...

I’m always trying to find ways to be outside more. At work, it doesn’t always happen but I spend the majority of my weekends outside. I like the tips though!

May 8, 2012
6:28 pm
TV says...

I think Nature-Smart Jobs for the Future from Richard Louv, and enter to win a $150 Gift Card from The North Face! | Algonquin Books Blog is a good post and you do a solid job of posting very detailed. Tom – http://www.ep2p4u.com

May 8, 2012
11:39 pm
melanie dufour says...

my son’s first word was “outside” I followed :)

May 9, 2012
12:16 pm
Jenny Briffa says...

I would love to see nature smart jobs developed for people to turn our asphalt jungle playgrounds at countless public schools into great outdoor science/discovey classrooms.

Post A Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>