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Introduction

Why study geography and sustainability, given that rarely do you find jobs titled geographer? While there may not be jobs literally titled “geographer”, having geographic training prepares students to work in an array of fields. Looking at the world from a geographic perspective provides students with a well-rounded perspective. Whether it's examining the human actions leading to climate change, or studying the physical consequences of these actions, geographers have the training to understand both. Below are examples of ways in which Geographers contribute to the work and performance of businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies: 

Understanding Social Systems: Geographers analyze the ways in which people interact in economic, political, social, and spatial contexts. Geographers offer a powerful perspective that can help employers take the specific needs and interests of a population into consideration when making decisions.

Improving the Environment: Geographers study natural phenomena and work in areas as diverse as conservation, climate change, geology, meteorology, hazards, and natural resource management. Geographers understand human-environment relationships and how to use that information to manage natural resource sustainability and to protect the planet as a whole.

Enhancing Financial Performance: Geographers, using geospatial tools such as GIS and GPS, are able to map and analyze economic data in search of important spatial patterns and relationships that can significantly enhance business efficiency and profitability. Spatial and temporal analysis is an important component of geographic education and a skill valued by a large number of business employers. 

Sample Job Titles of Geographers

  • Economic Development Analyst
  • Urban Planner
  • Community Development Specialist
  • Geographic Information Systems Analyst
  • Political Analyst
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Transportation Planner
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Health Planner
  • Teacher
  • Cartographer
  • Climatologist
  • Ecologist
  • Aerial Photo Interpreter
  • Tour Guide
  • Trade Analyst
  • Environmental Analyst
  • Recreational Resources Manager
  • Land Use Planner

Benefits of Studying Geography and Sustainability

Marketable skills

  • Critical thinking ability
  • Analytical skills including GIS
  • Reading, writing and oral communication skills
  • Quantitative literacy and spatial statistics skills
  • Research skills (e.g. literature review, data collection, data analysis)
  • Real-world experience

A better understanding of the world as an integrated system

  •  Geography studies both the physical and human aspects of the world
  • Geography uses GIS as a tool to model and analyze many different aspects of the world

A broader understanding of the wide-ranging scope of sustainability

  • With the major focus on climate change today, sustainability is of the utmost importance
  • Understanding how sustainability must be considered when planning for the future
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