*Green Jobs for Teens is a guest post. If you are interested in writing for A Modern Mom’s Life, please visit my Guest Posting page. *
Living greener has become a passion for the younger generations. They see the damage done to the environment, and they want to reverse it. Your teenager has already hassled the family into reducing waste and eating organic. As a parent, how can you direct that passion for the environment into success for your child?
The good news is that environmentalism is everywhere in the job market. Restaurant chains and box stores are more environmentally conscious in their business practices. Communities are opening farmers markets. With some forethought, your teen’s first job could support a cause they believe in. Test out some of these green jobs to find the perfect fit for your young environmentalist.
Most homeowners have landscape around their property. Be it a manicured lawn or a disheveled jungle of weeds, their yards must be tended. Sustainable landscaping can make an impact on the community, the environment, and your teen’s bank account.
Some common landscaping practices can have a huge impact on the environment. Homeowners should think greener when planting and watering. A teenager who offers a green landscaping service is providing labor and education for the homeowner.
Water-wise landscaping is great for dry/drought prone climates. Native plants are environmentally conscious because they thrive without fertilizer or excess watering. Plus, they encourage beneficial insects and wildlife to visit your yard. A teen landscaper can specialize in backyard ecosystems, gardens that suit the climate.
Composting is another green practice that can be financially beneficial for your teen. Selling nutrient rich compost to gardeners, or setting up composting systems for neighbors, can make your teen some extra cash.
There are plenty of homeowners who don’t have the time or knowledge to get started with sustainable landscaping. If your teen has decent research skills and an interest in gardening, they would be providing a valuable service. Of course, they have to be willing to get dirty and work outdoors for long hours.
The National Parks Service preserves green space and educates patrons about nature. A teenager who is interested in conserving land and open spaces will love working at a National Park.
Though they may have to start as a volunteer, there are positions and internships available for younger people at some parks. Park maintenance, such as cleaning litter and checking public facilities, is always a good place to start. Some parks have an information center or gift shop where a teen may work. In the summer, park rangers will run camps and outreach programs for young people. Your teenager could help to educate younger park patrons about local wildlife and conservation efforts.
To work in a National Park, your teen will need to have patience and customer service skills. They will have to interact with park goers and maximize their experience at the park. A love of nature will help them get the most out of their parks job.
Another great outdoors option for teenagers is a local farm. Organic farming requires more hands-on labor to support their best practices. Even working for a local farm that isn’t certified organic has a positive impact on the environment. Small local farms encourage consumers to buy fruit and vegetables from seasonally and from local sources.
Farms hire young people for help during the harvest season, picking and sorting produce. They may need help with basic maintenance of facilities, as well. In some cases, local farms will hire people to work farmer’s market booths or events. A responsible teenager could gain a lot of work experience at a farmer’s market during the spring and summer seasons.
Most towns and cities have a local recycling center; your first stop for an environmentally conscious teenager’s job search. Look for entry level positions at your local recycling center.
Large enough centers will have a reception or service area that needs attendants. Sorting recyclables is a great job for a teenager who wants to know the ins and outs of green practices. They will learn exactly what can and can’t be recycled, and why. Some recycling centers do outreach and education for the public. Assisting or running programs could be a next step for a resourceful teen.
Sell Recycled and Upcycled Items
Of course, your teen doesn’t have to work outside to have a green job. Platforms like Ebay and Etsy make it easy for teenagers to make a little extra money from their hobbies. Selling recycled or upcycled items reduces the amount of waste in our landfills, making it a great eco-friendly option. Plus, these online stores are very inexpensive to launch. With your support, teens as young as 15 can be eco-entrepreneurs with an online store.
If your teen loves talking about their green lifestyle, help them start a blog. Blogs offer a multitude of opportunities for young people to generate revenue in our digital economy. Your teenager will have to learn to market themselves and pitch brands if they want to be financially successful. Marketing and writing skills are built through practice, so passion is the biggest thing your teen needs to get started.
First, they need to decide their audience. What do they want to provide for their readers? Many people look to their favorite bloggers for reviews and advice. Product and service reviews are a great place to start developing revenue streams as your teenager builds an audience. Researching the environmental policies of local businesses provides a needed service. Your teen may even find their niche in helping people reduce, reuse, and recycle their own stuff.
No matter what job opportunity your teen pursues, they will look to you for support and guidance. Helping them follow their passion, whether it’s environmentalism or puppies, will teach them about values. We want our teenagers to find success and happiness in their lives. Encouraging them to live their values is a great start.
Ron Stefanski is the founder of JobsForTeensHQ.com and has a passion for helping teenagers find jobs. He created the website because he feels that teenagers need to focus on their professional passions much earlier in life and aims to teach them how they can do that. When he’s not working on his website, Ron is a college professor and loves to travel the world.
While my oldest child is not yet ready to find her first job, I love all these ideas! I almost landed a job on the Rideau Canal as a young teenager, and I would have loved it, but I was out of town on the interview days. I would have enjoyed working on the lock system all summer! (The Rideau Canal is a World Heritage Site and part of Parks Canada.)
I also sincerely hope Ron is correct when he says that teenagers are “living greener” and trying to reduce their environmental impact. If the newer generations aren’t interested in helping the planet, we won’t have much of a planet left for our grandchildren.
What are some green jobs for teens you know about in your area? Share them in the comments and maybe you’ll inspire someone’s child to look into it!