For several years, talk of environmental issues and green technologies has been fairly common. Ever since Al Gore’s efforts at the start of the century, global warming has been something we’re all aware of, and more recently, both Barrack Obama and Leonardo Di Caprio have made headlines by speaking up on the issue.
At the Paris Climate Conference in December, Obama said: “From now on the smart money will be in green technology.” As a quote within the last year of his presidency, it may go down as one of his parting messages, and it is one which suggests there will be growth in industries using Renewable and Sustainable technologies.
Students are being encouraged to engage with this area of study, and develop in the green technology industries that Barrack Obama has spoken about.
A few months later Di Caprio used his Oscar acceptance speech to warn, ‘Let us not take our planet for granted,’ and just as we cannot deny Obama’s position to comment, we cannot deny Di Caprio’s credentials on the matter. He says he is not an expert, but the actor has been involved in campaigning for years, has devoted his own time and money (around $30m) to the cause, and has had private tutorials in climate science from some of the world’s biggest researchers.
Still, this manner of celebrity campaigning is often met with suspicion from the public, simply because it is not something we enjoy listening to. We are aware of these issues, but we prefer not to hear about them; largely because they are too great for us to comprehend. Think of the world – not our lives, not our towns or cities, not even our countries, but our planet. We picture great sunsets, epic mountains and unfathomable deserts and oceans. To imagine this ending, or even being under threat, is at first beyond any of our imaginations. It’s hard enough to act in a way that allows our pay cheques to last a month. To think, therefore, of the world of ‘our children’s children,’ is borderline impossible. Di Caprio has worried aloud that we are guilty of thinking of the whole thing, of this great threat to the earth, as ‘a fiction.’
There are things we will do, of course. We will recycle, as far as our blue bins allow us to, and we’ll not litter – if we’ve any decency – as far as possible. But that is because plastics go in the blue bin, and rubbish doesn’t belong on the street; it is not a mission to save the earth, because for most of us, the danger of the earth is not something we think of. We believe it is a message reserved for the giant industrial companies that puff carbon dioxide into the air, not for us.
Now, however, with information and action on these issues becoming more and more prominent, Further and Higher education is finding a place in these discussions, and more and more career opportunities are emerging. Students are being encouraged to engage with this area of study, and develop in the green technology industries that Barrack Obama has spoken about.
The CREST centre in South West College, Enniskillen, is the Centre for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies, and provides assistance for businesses in the renewable energy, sustainability, environmental and construction industries. The passive building itself is one of the most sustainable buildings in the UK and Ireland, as well as hosting a wide range of new laboratory testing equipment to service the biogas and biomass industries with the ability to manufacture and test biomass products. Crest offers opportunities for careers in Environmental Management, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Technology, Waste and Resource Management, and Sustainable Construction, offering a wide range of professional industry relevant training courses, Higher Level Apprenticeships, Foundation Degrees and a new BSc Hons. Energy, Environment and Sustainability course accredited by QUB, meaning opportunities within this rapidly progressing sector are endless.
As some of the biggest names in the world continue to call on humanity to step up to the challenge of saving the environment, the opportunity to find out more and get involved in the industries doing exactly that, is never too far away.
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