Discover your career path

Social Ecologist

Solve environmental problems by addressing social ones.

What does a Social Ecologist do?

Because the world is three-dimensional, its problems must be solved from every angle. Think about a house, for instance: Along with the front, you’ve also got to build the back, top, bottom, and sides. A Social Ecologist has the same approach to social and environmental issues, including everything from health care, poverty, and crime to famine, drought, and climate change.

While most people look at problems from only one angle – they’re either human problems or nature problems – Social Ecologists look at them through both social and environmental lenses, giving them a 360-degree view of challenges and solutions.

More simply put: As a Social Ecologist, you analyze the world’s problems by thinking about the relationship between human beings and nature, including how one impacts the other.

Thanks to the cerebral nature of your career, you typically have a job at a college or university, where you teach classes and conduct research. A type of Sociologist, you’re either a Sociology Professor or an Environmental Studies Professor. Either way, you’re both an academic and an advocate, instructing students, giving lectures, writing articles, and presenting at conferences, hoping to simultaneously educate and change humanity so that man and Mother Nature can get along more peacefully.

If you’re not a Professor, you’re probably a Manager or Analyst, working for private companies, research institutes, or government agencies in the areas of research, education, public policy, public health, and urban planning, just to name a few. In any case, you use your unique perspective to mediate conflicts between people and the planet.