For those considering environmental policy jobs it should be noted that they exist as much in the private sector as they do in the area of government. Environmental policy is not formed in a vacuum and those who work in this area will often be involved in both the gathering and analysis of data. This data can be collected on the entire range of sources that have an impact on the environment. The air quality, contaminants in the water and soil are three examples.
Data is gathered in a variety of ways, often by people taking physical samples for analysis. Taking quality samples for analysis is an important job that is necessary for good environmental policy. If the data is good, an environmental analyst can go over it and understand what has happened in the past to a particular area of the environment and then formulate possible responses that will be needed to protect the environment from further damage. In some cases it can lead to proposals to clean up the environment.
These proposals are often formed by a separate person in an organization that is sometimes referred to as an environmental manager. An analyst can be the same person as the manager, but in the case of large projects they will be separate jobs. In fact, in large organizations there will be several environmental analysts as well as managers. This work is not only done to monitor the environment, but can also be done to determine the future impact on the environment from a specific construction project such as a bridge, road, or a business development. These studies are not only done by people with environmental policy jobs in the government, but private firms as well. Private companies will have people on staff doing this work, so the issues related to the environment will be understood before presenting a proposal to the government for approval of the development. There are also consulting firms that a company can hire to do this type of work for a private company.
Once the data is analyzed and policies are proposed, the final decision on what actions to adopt will be made by the chief executive officer of a company. This is only made after a great amount of input from advisers in the various department heads, including the legal advice that is given. The biggest factors on action taken will be legal as well as share holder opinion and customer reaction. Policy in the public sector will be made differently. Whether it is the legislative branch of the federal or state governments, or simply the local city council, voter opinion is important. Public opinion will be listened to and the policy that is adopted will often be a blend of public opinion and the science behind the environmental study.
Those who work in the area of environmental policy are doing important work today and will continue to do so in the future. The best way to enter this field of employment is to earn a degree in environmental science. A graduate degree is even more helpful.