As a city built on history and tradition, Charleston understands the importance of preservation and conservation, from its magnificent shoreline and stunning Low Country to its historic homes and cobblestone streets. It comes as no surprise that protecting and preserving what makes this city spectacular is a major objective in Charleston.
One of the biggest sustainability leaders in Charleston is the Sustainability Institute, founded in 1999 for the sole purpose of reducing the city’s environmental footprint through sustainable building, energy conservation, and community education and outreach.
Today, the Sustainability Institute focuses its efforts on housing insecurity and affordability and the effects of climate change on the environment.
This grassroots organization has made significant strides toward sustainability throughout the city. More than 750 homes in the Charleston area have been outfitted with energy efficient improvements, and more than 240 low-income homes here have been upgraded to improve energy efficiency, resulting in more than $4 million in savings since 2003.
Thanks to this city’s outstanding sustainability programs and initiatives like the Sustainability Institute, there are abundant opportunities for a wide variety of professionals in this field, from urban planners and engineers to business leaders and agriculturalists. With the right education, you can focus or refocus your career on sustainability and become a changemaker in the Charleston green movement.
Sustainability Jobs Available in South Carolina with the Right Degree
There are a variety of government agencies and non-profit organizations in South Carolina that are committed to achieving a sustainable future.
One of Columba’s major nonprofits, Sustainable Midlands, is focused on the concept and design principles of New Urbanism, which works to establish a healthy environment, access to local food, conservation of natural resources, and efficient transportation. Through citizen participation and partnerships with local leaders, planners, and elected officials, the preservation of the city’s natural resources and the creation of stronger neighborhoods and healthier lifestyles can be realized.
South Carolina’s Conservation Coalition is the coming together of a large number of organizations that work to ensure South Carolina’s future generations can continue to enjoy this state’s natural resources. The work of this nonprofit helps promote the marriage of economic development and conservation, which is accomplished through environmental laws, policies and regulations. Just some of the organizations involved in the coalition include the American Institute of Architects of South Carolina, the Charleston Waterkeeper, the League of Women Voters of SC, and Friends of Edisto.
The Charleston-based Coastal Conservation League works with communities, citizens, and businesses to protect and conserve the natural resources of South Carolina’s coastal plain. This nonprofit finds solutions to the region’s largest environmental challenges. The work of this group is aimed at four, major areas: land, water and wildlife; communities and transportation; energy and climate; and food and agriculture.
You’ll find a number of exciting professional opportunities in South Carolina in sustainability, many of which come with impressive salaries. For example, according to 2018 BLS statistics, environmental engineers earn an average salary of $76,970 here, urban and regional planners earn an average salary of $64,700, and conservation scientists earn $56,220.
Master’s in Sustainability Available Through Schools in South Carolina
Masters programs in sustainability are focused courses of study that allow emerging or practicing sustainability professionals to dive deep into areas like agriculture, engineering, architecture, and public policy.
Clemson University’s Plant & Environmental Sciences Department offers two graduate programs at the master’s level: an MS in Plant and Environmental Sciences (with an optional specialization in sustainable agriculture) and an MS in Entomology. The MS in Entomology program offers your choice of research focus on agriculture and applied ecology, urban and medical entomology, or biodiversity, systematics, and evolution.
The University of South Carolina’s Master of Earth and Environmental Resource Management is located in the university’s School of Earth, Ocean, and the Environment, which offers a comprehensive course of study in areas relevant to environmental resource management, including politics and economics.
The College of Charleston’s MS in Environmental and Sustainability Studies features a policy-focused curriculum that examines the development of public policy as it relates to environmental issues. Curriculum within this program is focused on environmental issues like land use, the management of biohazards, and economic development.
The University of South Carolina’s College of Engineering and Computing offers both a Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering and an MS in Civil Engineering, both of which include your choice of concentration in environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, or water resources engineering. Students of this program enjoy outstanding research opportunities through the college’s Berge Laboratory, Advanced Railroad Technology Group, the Structural Dynamics and Intelligent Infrastructure Laboratory, and more.
Sustainability Bachelor Degree Programs in South Carolina
Sustainability programs at the bachelor’s level allow students to receive a comprehensive course of education that prepares them for direct entry into the field or for future graduate study.
In South Carolina, the University of South Carolina offers both a BS in Environmental Science and a BA in Environmental Studies, while Greenville’s Furman University offers a BS in Sustainability Science.