Tennessee’s Music City may be best known for its blend of music, culture, arts, and food, but if Mayor Megan Barry has her way, it’ll also be known for its strides in sustainability.
With the goal of building upon the city’s first green initiatives that were put into motion by the 2009 Green Ribbon Committee, Nashville Mayor Barry has lofty plans to make bold environmental conservation moves that will make Nashville, according to Barry, the “greenest city in the Southeast.”
Just some of her high-priority areas of focus include increasing the city’s urban canopy by about a half-million trees…increasing energy efficiency in low-income housing…making the switch to cleaner-burning transportation…and achieving a zero-waste goal.
These ambitions, while grand, are achievable if the city is able to bring together the best and brightest professionals in sustainability. With the right education and training under your belt, you can lend your talents to this massive undertaking and become part of Nashville’s exciting, sustainable future.
Sustainability Jobs Available in Tennessee with the Right Degree
Tennessee’s many nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies reveal the state’s commitment to green living and environmental sustainability.
For example, the Tennessee Environmental Council has been working to ensure the preservation of this state’s landscape and natural resources for nearly 50 years. Just a few of this organization’s accomplishments in 2018 included planting 190,000 trees throughout the state … launching an initiative to curb waste from filling landfills known as Come, Post Your Compost … launching Recycle Right Tennessee, a campaign to increase recycling efforts while reducing recycling contamination throughout the state … and establishing more than 150,000 honeybees at the Nashville Greenfield Restoration Project.
Another leader in sustainability in Tennessee is the Tennessee Parks & Greenway Foundation, the oldest statewide land conservancy in the state. Thanks to partnerships with municipalities, landowners, and governmental agencies, this organization is able to expand and protect public lands, parks, and wildlife corridors.
The Foothills Land Conservancy is another nonprofit aimed at the protection of the state’s lands and environments. This organization is focused on conserving areas within the Southern Appalachian region, which includes more than 100,000 acres.
Careers in sustainability in Tennessee often come with impressive salaries, according to 2018 statistics by the BLS. For example, environmental engineers in Tennessee earn an average salary of $93,620, while environmental scientists earn $72,470 and conservation scientists earn $68,440 on average.
Master’s in Sustainability Available Through Schools in Tennessee
Sustainability study at the master’s level is most often focused on advancing your skills in a specific area or profession like engineering, landscape design, agriculture, or public policy.
The University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Master of Landscape Architecture is a rigorous, three-year program aimed at addressing the topics of design, sustainable practices, and ethical stewardship of rural, urban, and conserved landscapes.
The University of Tennessee Knoxville offers an MS in Environmental Engineering, which comes with your choice of concentration in climate impacts engineering, environmental engineering, or water resources engineering. This program is located in the Tickle College of Engineering, which is ranked 31st in the nation among graduate-level engineering colleges at public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Sustainability Bachelor Degree Programs in Tennessee
Tennessee is also home to a variety of sustainability bachelor’s programs in Tennessee, which are designed to prepare you for work in this swiftly growing field. For example, Middle Tennessee State University offers both a BS and a minor in Environmental Sustainability and Technology, while Lipscomb University offers a BS in Environmental and Sustainability Science.
Online Sustainability Degrees Offered Through Schools in Tennessee
Not all sustainability degrees are offered on-campus; in fact, a large number of universities and colleges throughout the country also offer these programs partially or entirely online to accommodate the needs of today’s busy, working professionals and other nontraditional learners.
For example, the University of Memphis offers a fully online MS in Environmental Nutrition, an innovative program that explores the relationship between food, nutrition, and the environment.