3 Ways to Pursue Your Dream of Becoming an Environmental Lobbyist
If your goal is to protect the environment at a policy level and become an environmental lobbyist, you could try to emulate the early career path taken by Ted Halstead, the founder of the Climate Leadership Council and other environmental organizations.
At the age of 25, Halstead started an environmental economics think tank with a $15,000 seed grant from Echoing Green. Education, Internships, or early involvement in environmental causes and networking were keys to Halstead’s success. If you’re interested in becoming an environmental lobbyist, here are a few ways to get started.
Environmental studies is an increasingly popular undergraduate major for those desiring a career in bettering the world. Halstead, for example, studied philosophy at Dartmouth and later earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard.
Ecology Project International lists Amherst, Colby, Colorado College, Middlebury, and Montana State among the top schools for environmental and ecological studies. Attending one of the top schools for environmental studies will ensure that you get the opportunities and support you need to succeed in this field.
In addition to an education in environmental studies, successful lobbyists also need to be well versed in public policy, federal and state rules, and regulations. These professionals must understand the nuances of the legislative process. Lobbying can be a tireless give-and-take battle in the effort to push the agenda you and/or your organization seek. Insight into how others succeed can be crucial, so seeking out mentors in the field through an alumni network may be helpful.
Along with education, getting practical experience through an internship can be key to later landing that first job as a lobbyist.
Chegg Internships offers a varied list of places to apply. They also offer great tips on which internships may require or recommend certain skills. For instance, many environmental organizations seek candidates with GIS (Geographic Information Systems) skills, as well as research and data analysis skills. If you don’t have these skills or experiences, get on LinkedIn and find someone who is 3-5 years ahead of you in school or in their career to see how they acquired those roles.
The major environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and the National Defense Resources Council tend to offer internships as well, but they will be competitive. Make sure you consistently update and edit your resume to remain a competitive candidate.
If you want an inside view of how the legislative process really works, apply for an internship with your representatives in Congress or state legislature. If you can, research representatives who share similar values regarding environmental policy. This way, you can gain experience in both politics and environmental lobbying.
Who you know is often the key to landing the dream job in any field. Connecting with organizations who have political peer to peer texting programs can keep you in the midst of ongoing debates on the environmental issues that matter most to you.
Launched during the 2016 presidential campaign, P2P messaging has a high success rate of opened messages, the majority reportedly within three minutes of being received. Such messaging among those who share your interests can alert you to networking opportunities such as environmental conferences and public hearings on related issues and rallies for environmental causes.
Attending events in which speakers address environmental concerns is also a good way to connect with others who share your passion for doing what you can to protect the environment.
Get on mailing or email lists of environmental organizations to know what activities they have planned. This simple step can open the door to the wider world of networking opportunities
Learn all you can about the environmental issues you care about, secure that perfect internship, network, network, network, and the dream job of influencing the powers that be on environmental matters could be yours.