I know that there has been lots of recent speculation about sending people to Mars (well, it’s been going on for decades and the idea does re-emerge every 4 or 5 years or so) but the fact remains that right now, as of this moment and for the foreseeable future, we only have one planet, it’s called Earth, it’s looked after us pretty well for thousands of years and now it’s time that we took just a little responsibility and repaid the favor.
These days we’re all very aware of the need to be environmentally friendly, and this isn’t just for home owners and individuals, there is also a lot of pressure on industry and organizations to comply with the growing number of environmental regulations. Some work from the environmental viewpoint, some work from the industrial side of things, but whatever their field of expertise they’re all heading towards one common goal.
Role of an Environmental Consultant
Many Environmental Consultants enter the field with some sort of degree in Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering or similar. One very important thing, particularly in the industrial sector is that they have sound understanding and knowledge of environmental regulations so that they can advise their clients how to steer clear of fines, legal action or transactions which, shall we saw, are more in the interests of profit than of the environment. It has to be a fine balancing act, particularly these days with many regulations leaning much more heavily on the side of the environment, and quite rightly so.
Environmental Consulting is definitely a growth industry as the public becomes increasingly concerned about the effects of what we are doing to our planet will have in the not too distant future. Some organizations have a genuine concern for environmental issues and happily work within the regulations, others find that utilizing an Environmental Consultant is good for business as it makes them look more green and environmentally friendly (a good marketing tool).
Areas of Environmental Consulting
Environmental Consultants do work in a wide variety of areas, including but not restricted to the following:
- Energy – this is one of the biggest “going green” topics of the century, and we’re all concerned with the effects our greenhouse gas emissions are having on the environment, which is particularly pertinent to big industry. The environmental consultant might look at things like whether installing solar or hydro energy power would pay for itself or be cost effective over its operational lifespan.
- Contaminated land – we’re really only just becoming aware of the dangers of contaminated land, what we put into a landfill site, spray onto our crops or spill into the rivers and streams in one area can severely contaminate the land for decades. The construction industry, agriculture as well as many scientific companies may need the services of environmental consultants to cover this area.
- Geotechnical matters are also of concern to Environmental Consultants. Site investigations are important before any construction work can commence, for example, to study the design of the foundations, stability of slopes etc and to make sure that any construction has a positive (or as little negative as possible) environmental impact.
- Flood risk – hmmmm, is building this here going to put the rest of the area at risk of flooding? I’d better ask the Environmental Consultant
- Waste management is particularly pertinent to many industries, how do they deal with their waste matter both cost effectively and with the least amount of possible damage to the environment? They need to ask an Environmental Consultant.
- Asbestos and Radon management is worth a mention of its own, not just with the waste management. The potential danger to the public was completely unknown when so many of these things were used in buildings up until only around 30 years ago. As you can imagine, there’s lots of it left and it needs to be dealt with effectively.
- Compliance has already been mentioned above, but is worth repeating. Companies or organizations which are found to be in breach of environmental regulations can be subjected to heavy fines or even imprisonment (well, the bosses can).
- Carbon footprints is something we’re all hearing about more and more. How big is your carbon footprint, we’re not talking sooty marks on the carpet where Santa has been, we’re talking something which is much more difficult to clean up so needs to be captured at source. We’ve all got one and we all need to reduce them as much as possible. Every little helps.