Zero Waste Alliance
• Recycling is about markets. You need to understand how markets can use recycled material in order to understand recycling.
• Policy is very important to recycling. An educational background in policy can be useful.
Executive Director
North Texas Chapter Green Building Council
• Volunteer at organizations like the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC has chapters in most large metropolitan areas. The American Institute of Architecture is also a good place to find information.
• Updates in building code will drive new jobs in green building. Cities are adopting stricter building green building codes. Many cities now require LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) ratings for new city-owned construction projects.
• The ability to find the ROI (Return on Investment) for a project is a very valuable skill in the green building industry.
The U.S Green Building Council is a national non-profit organization that works to promote sustainability in how buildings are designed, built, and operated. The North Texas chapter of the (USGBC) is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is led by Executive Director Jonathan Kraatz.
Executive Director
Scenic Houston
• Green tech is a growth industry in Houston. The petrochemical industry is heavily invested in alternative forms of energy and will continue to create green jobs with research facilities in Houston.
• Business in Houston is recognizing the economic value of trees, green landscaping and clean air. Businesses want to locate in a clean attractive environment and this will create new jobs.
• Look to the Houston Green Scene (houstongreenscene.org) for networking opportunities.
Groups like Scenic Houston represent a unique niche in the environmental movement. Scenic Houston incorporates more business support than most green movement organizations. With lax zoning law and strong free enterprise support, Houston developed a concrete and billboard freeway landscape that was both unattractive and unhealthy.

As executive director of Scenic Houston, Anne Culver leads an organization that has improved and beautified Houston with trees and landscaping. With the exception of the billboard industry, Houston businesses are recognizing the economic value of landscaping, trees, and controlled use of signage. Attractive places attract new business, better employees, and more jobs.

Green jobs in Houston will continue to be centered around the petrochemical (oil) industry. After ecological disasters like the BP Gulf oil spill, petrochemical companies need the positive press that investment in green industry creates. Energy companies will need to transition to new and hopefully greener forms of energy as oil supplies dwindle. This should substantially drive the growth of green technologies and green jobs in Houston.
Vice President Of Operations
Galveston Bay Foundation
• Local Formal Education Opportunities: Texas A&M at Galveston has a reputable marine biology program, and the University of Houston-Clear Lake offers degree programs in environmental sciences and environmental management.
• Local Networking Opportunities: The Texas Association of Environmental Professionals (TAEP.org) is a great organization to become involved with for networking opportunities and job leads.
• Local Volunteer Opportunities: The Galveston Bay Foundation offers a variety of volunteer opportunities-from habitat restoration to administrative work-that support work in this field.
Courtney Smith, Vice President of Operations, explained that the Galveston Bay Foundation performs many important services for the Galveston Bay community, including ecological preservation and restoration, environmental education, and advocacy work. With over 3,000 acres conserved and many more with successful habitat restoration accomplished by the Galveston Bay Foundation, this organization has a profound impact on the Galveston Bay ecological community. The Foundation works with many state and federal agencies, including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency. In her position as Vice President of Operations, Courtney works on grant writing, contract management, and reporting. Writing and communications are vital to non-profit organizations, especially to organizations like the Galveston Bay Foundation that depend on public participation and philanthropy for support.
Communications Director
Air Alliance Houston
• Develop a solid understanding of the local, state, and federal political processes to prepare yourself for a career with an environmental lobbying organization.
• Volunteer! Environmental organizations including Air Alliance Houston always need volunteers.
• Follow your passion.
If you have been through Houston, Texas, even briefly, then you have probably benefited from the work of Air Alliance Houston. The Air Alliance has worked since 1988 to prevent and eliminate smog in Houston. Air Alliance employees like Communications Director Shae Cottar work to educate the public, lobby local politicians, and occasionally file lawsuits in pursuit of the Alliance's mission. Air Alliance Houston is currently working to create a coalition of Gulf Coast groups that can work together to better spread awareness of environmental problems. With the abundance of the petrochemical industry in the Houston metropolitan area, dedicated environmental professionals are greatly needed.
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