According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 10% of writers earn an average of $133,460 yearly.
As a full-time environmental writer working with companies or government agencies, you can earn as much or more.
Another beautiful thing about environmental writing jobs is that you can get paid to save the planet even before you get your bachelor’s degree.
While you might love the planet, there is no harm in making money from loving it.
Your job as an environmental writer focuses on environmental topics: wildlife, energy, technology, environmental policies, ‘green’ life, water issues, and climate change, among others.
If you want to know what opportunities are out there for you to explore, keep reading!
10 Environmental Writing Jobs for You
As an environmental writer, you can work full-time or part-time, remotely, or on-site.
Depending on what organization you wish to write for, there are various writing styles to explore.
For example, writing news articles will differ from presenting investigative pieces.
Each writing style fits different job descriptions, and we will explore the best opportunities available right now.
1. Environmental Journalism
A college degree in environmental science or related fields and excellent writing skills are essential to becoming an environmental journalist.
You don’t have to be a professional writer with a college degree in journalism, communications, English, or writing, but it could be a plus.
This form of writing requires extensive background research and may often warrant interviews.
It involves writing investigative pieces that expose environmental problems, unethical practices carried out by ‘green’ companies, illegal environmental activities, etc.
Environmental journalists often work at news outlets or for environmental magazines.
Data journalism and multimedia journalism are two other areas slowly but steadily entering the industry.
They involve analyzing available data to discover and uncover new trends and using catchy audio-visuals to present stories to the public.
2. Eco Article Writing
As a freelance environmental writer, you can create content about conservation issues, alternative energy, climate change, and water pollution for blogs or science magazines.
The good news is that there are many publications and organizations ready to pay for your work!
If you are adventurous, you can share your discoveries and experiences with them for publication.
These eight publications pay freelance environmental writers well:
- The Open Notebook (pays $750 for interviews and $1,100 for featured stories)
- Australian Geographic (pays around $300AUD for 600-1000 words)
- Discover Magazine (pays $300 per story published on the web and $1 per word for stories printed)
- Sierra Magazine (pays a flat rate of $250 for reviews and opinion pieces, at least $350 for online stories, and $1 per word for feature articles with at least 3000 words)
- New Scientist (competitive rate per word, and you can negotiate)
- Hakai Magazine (Reportedly pays $0.75 to $1 per word for everything coastal)
- The Revelator (pays $300 to first-time contributors but can pay as much as $500 subsequently, depending on the story shared)
- BBC Future (pay is not disclosed)
These are only a few places to pitch your writing as an environmentalist and get paid.
Each of these websites has submission guidelines to follow.
Many other outlets will pay for your commissioned contributions. These resources on how to pitch your ideas can help.
3. Environmental Communications
Environmental communication professionals disseminate information about the environment to the public. However, it is not limited to that.
It also involves writing and editing white papers and press releases for non-profit environmental organizations, government agencies, and research centers.
Distributing newsletters, including industry news, is part of their job description.
It is related to environmental journalism in that it guides the public’s understanding of environmental issues and policies, informs them of the people and organizations involved, and proposes possible fixes.
Environmental communications provide a variety of career opportunities. You can work with news outlets as a journalist, non-profit organizations, marketing specialists, or government lobbyists.
4. Environmental Copywriting
Environmental copywriters create advertising copy aimed at selling a product or service. Many green companies sell environmental products and services.
They need professional copywriters, either freelancers or full-time employees, to market these.
They would preferably employ copywriters who have experience with environmental-related issues, as they can create a call-to-action that resonates with their target audience.
With lots of technical knowledge and persuasive power, you could become the copywriter for a green company that needs to sell a product, create a fundraising letter, and everything in between.
5. Fiction Writing
Tell stories that evoke the emotions you want from readers and push them to act based on those emotions. As an environmental fiction writer, you can do this.
Some copywriters do this to sell a product or service or raise funds through grants and donations.
It doesn’t have to be a novel or piece of poetry; it could be other works that describe nature in the most vivid ways. It could also illustrate environmental trends that may impact the earth.
You can work with non-profit and profit-oriented organizations, using your writing to do a little convincing to make people rally to an environmental cause.
6. Permit Writing
Permit writers develop legally defensible and enforceable permits to ensure that work is done safely and efficiently.
They investigate and process environmental rights, ensuring compliance with regulatory agency requirements.
They also spot unsafe conditions and report them to management personnel and issue work permits as required.
A permit writer often has a degree in occupational safety or related fields. They should also have a thorough understanding of federal, state, local, company, and client regulations. It’s crucial to recognize hazardous situations and recommend corrective measures.
Permit writing is a job for specialists and often requires being on-site.
7. Grant Writing
As a grant writer, you can get paid to write proposals for funding to government institutions, foundations, or trusts. Every non-profit organization needs the help of grant writers to get funds.
With so many non-profit environmental organizations fighting for different causes, grant writers always have a job. You can earn as much as $5,000 or more on the job.
Freelance grant writers charge up to $200 per hour.
To write a successful grant proposal, the writer needs to know the target, use appropriate language, and understand general grantsmanship.
Hence, experience writing environmental science-related grant proposals with, e.g., the EPA, NSF, or NOAA, can earn you thousands of dollars monthly.
These six best grant writing books provide essentials to successful grant writing.
8. Environmental Marketing Intern
If you are passionate about making the world a better place, you can work as an intern with green companies offering internship opportunities.
While learning about dynamic ways to solve environmental problems and gaining soft skills, you can also get paid.
Organizations like the Rocky Mountain Institute offer paid internships for about 11 to 12 weeks for various positions.
These include building electrification, which involves making recommendations to policymakers and portfolio energy optimization.
You would deal with developing reference databases and supporting pilot projects, among many others.
9. Editing to save the planet
Environmental editors edit scripts written by authors to ensure that the text uses standard scientific terms and is free of spelling and grammatical errors.
These editors are often writers who have moved up the career ladder. Understanding industry requirements, work approach, and client needs are essential.
As an editor, you can work as a freelancer from home or show up when needed on-site. It often requires a professional degree and years of experience.
10. Technical Writing
Tech writers create tutorials, instructions, and help pages that make using environmental devices and software easier. They also provide information on eco-friendly consumer products like solar panels.
Their writings are often published on websites or blogs, often under the how-to sections. Technical, environmental writings are informative and educative.
You can work as a freelance or permanent tech writer with organizations needing your services, including startup tech companies.
If you are a student, these technical writing tips can help you improve your writing skills.
There are many more environmental writing jobs to explore. This list isn’t all-encompassing. It just highlights ten environmental jobs you can aspire to work in.
Whether you are an undergraduate, graduate, or specialist, you can get paid to save the planet, and these are a few places to start.
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