Environmental Activist

Dec 1, 1999
Outside Magazine

The Work: Your mission is clear—to valorously protect the environment!—but your job description isn't, especially if you work for a small, grassroots venture. A typical day could have you rallying local businesses and labor groups against a proposed golf course, penning press releases, lobbying legislators for tighter emissions restrictions, or trekking Alabama forests to inventory the endangered Eastern indigo snake.

Time Outside: For grassroots activists, 25—90 percent. Lobbyists for the citybound national organizations, 40 percent.

Payback: $12,000— $35,000 a year.

Prerequisites: Come one, come all: The job is open to anybody, says Tom Price, communications director at Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, "with an aversion to making money and a healthy dose of moral outrage."

Networking: The Sierra Club posts reams of archival information on hot-topic enviro issues, organizations, and high-profile campaigns around the country (415-977-5500; www.sierraclub.org).

Drudge Factor: With such minuscule budgets, there's never going to be anyone to bring you coffee or take dictation.

Peon to Pro: Four to seven years to make executive director on the local level. Promotions aside, you know you've hit your stride when a pissed-off rancher calls at 2 a.m.

Outlook: Put your save-the-world face on: Rampant burnout results in high turnover, meaning there may a job for you at one of the country's 250-plus organizations.

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