Hawaii’s vast, seemingly limitless beauty is one that requires careful nurturing and cultivation, which is achieved through only the most aggressive sustainability efforts. Thanks to everyone from grassroots environmental organizations to clean energy advocates to legislators introducing major clean energy policies, Hawaii is right on track to make the move to 100% clean energy by 2045.
This energy independence goal, which was developed a decade ago by the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, was recently reassessed and found to be ahead of schedule, thanks to lower costs of renewable energy. Meeting this goal and transitioning to clean energy would be truly revolutionary, as Hawaii’s electricity rates are more than double the national average. While most of Hawaii’s alternative power comes from solar, the state is also working to generate power from wind, hydro, geothermal, and biofuels.
Because this sort of massive undertaking involves the expertise and talent of professionals from nearly every sector and field, opportunities in this expansive field are more abundant and more exciting than ever.
Sustainability Jobs Available in Hawaii with the Right Degree
Hawaii’s professional opportunities in sustainability are as abundant as this state’s powder white beaches and crystal blue waters.
For example, the Hawaiian Sustainability Foundation develops and implements initiatives aimed at creating sustainable communities that benefit Hawaii’s economy and the health of the Hawaiian people. Areas of focus include healthy food production, waste recycling, and clean drinking water.
Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii is a big name in grassroots initiatives here. From hands-on beach cleanups to educational programs and public awareness campaigns, Sustainable Coastlines is all about coastal stewardship through education and community partnerships.
The Hawaii Conservation Alliance brings together organizations and agencies that are committed to conserving and restoring the islands’ ecosystems, which include safeguarding the biodiversity of the ocean, land, and streams. The Hawaii Conservation Alliance also hosts the Hawaii Conservation Conference, which brings together scientists, policymakers, practitioners, educators, and citizens to share resources and connect for the greater good.
According to 2018 statistics from the BLS, sustainability professionals in Hawaii enjoy salaries that far exceed the state’s average salary. For example, environmental engineers earn an average salary of $91,270, while civil engineers earn an average salary of $86,680. Environmental scientists earn an average salary of $69,780, while conservation scientists earn an average salary of $68,360.
Master’s in Sustainability Available Through Schools in Hawaii
Because of the broad nature of sustainability, experts from a variety of sectors and professions lend their efforts to programs, policies, and initiatives aimed at balancing people, profit, and our precious natural resources. Because of the many areas of specialization within sustainability, you’ll find that most master’s degrees are focused on specific areas like sustainable development, engineering, public policy, or business.
Akamai University’s MS in Environmental Studies with a Sustainable Agriculture concentration dives deep into how people interact with the natural environment. Much of the coursework of this program is focused on sustainable best management practices and unsustainable agricultural practices.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s School of Architecture offers a Master of Landscape Architecture, accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board. This program prepares students for leadership positions in landscape architecture, architecture, urban design, historic conservation, and construction management.
Hawaii Pacific University’s MA in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development focuses on creating sustainable initiatives that address global environmental, economic, and social problems. Recent graduates of this program have gone on to secure careers with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Pacific Northwest Laboratory, among many others.
Sustainability Bachelor Degree Programs in Hawaii
Sustainability programs at the bachelor’s level provide students with an interdisciplinary course of study that serves as excellent preparation for entry-level careers in the field or for future graduate study.
In Hawaii, the University of Hawaii Maui College offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainability Science Management, which covers topics related to energy, business and management, agriculture, waste management, policy and more, while Hawaii Pacific University offers a BS in Environmental Science and a BA in Environmental Studies, both of which are dedicated to the study of the most pressing environmental issues such as air and water pollution, deforestation, and climate change.