Industrial Ecologist Career

Job Description: Apply principles and processes of natural ecosystems to develop models for efficient industrial systems. Use knowledge from the physical and social sciences to maximize effective use of natural resources in the production and use of goods and services. Examine societal issues and their relationship with both technical systems and the environment.


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Industrial Ecologist Career

What Industrial Ecologists do:

  • Analyze changes designed to improve the environmental performance of complex systems to avoid unintended negative consequences.
  • Apply new or existing research about natural ecosystems to understand economic and industrial systems in the context of the environment.
  • Develop alternative energy investment scenarios to compare economic and environmental costs and benefits.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of industrial ecology programs using statistical analysis and applications.
  • Examine local, regional or global use and flow of materials or energy in industrial production processes.
  • Identify environmental impacts caused by products, systems, or projects.
  • Identify or develop strategies or methods to minimize the environmental impact of industrial production processes.
  • Identify sustainable alternatives to industrial or waste management practices.
  • Plan or conduct field research on topics such as industrial production, industrial ecology, population ecology, and environmental production or sustainability.
  • Prepare technical and research reports such as environmental impact reports, and communicate the results to individuals in industry, government, or the general public.
  • Recommend methods to protect the environment or minimize environmental damage from industrial production practices.
  • Review research literature to maintain knowledge on topics related to industrial ecology, such as physical science, technology, economy, and public policy.
  • Build and maintain databases of information about energy alternatives, pollutants, natural environments, industrial processes, and other information related to ecological change.
  • Carry out environmental assessments in accordance with applicable standards, regulations, or laws.
  • Examine societal issues and their relationship with both technical systems and the environment.
  • Identify or compare the component parts or relationships between the parts of industrial, social, and natural systems.
  • Perform analyses to determine how human behavior can affect and be affected by changes in the environment.
  • Promote use of environmental management systems (EMS) to reduce waste or to improve environmentally sound use of natural resources.
  • Redesign linear, or open loop, systems into cyclical, or closed loop, systems so that waste products become inputs for new processes, modeling natural ecosystems.
  • Review industrial practices, such as the methods and materials used in construction or production, to identify potential liabilities and environmental hazards.
  • Research sources of pollution to determine environmental impact or to develop methods of pollution abatement or control.
  • Forecast future status or condition of ecosystems, based on changing industrial practices or environmental conditions.
  • Prepare plans to manage renewable resources.
  • Provide industrial managers with technical materials on environmental issues, regulatory guidelines, or compliance actions.
  • Perform environmentally extended input-output (EE I-O) analyses.
  • Research environmental effects of land and water used to determine methods of improving environmental conditions or increasing outputs such as crop yields.
  • Translate the theories of industrial ecology into eco-industrial practices.
  • Conduct environmental sustainability assessments, using material flow analysis (MFA) or substance flow analysis (SFA) techniques.
  • Create complex and dynamic mathematical models of population, community, or ecological systems.
  • Investigate the impact of changed land management or land use practices on ecosystems.
  • Investigate accidents affecting the environment to assess ecological impact.
  • Monitor the environmental impact of development activities, pollution, or land degradation.
  • Plan or conduct studies of the ecological implications of historic or projected changes in industrial processes or development.
  • Conduct analyses to determine the maximum amount of work that can be accomplished for a given amount of energy in a system, such as industrial production systems and waste treatment systems.
  • Conduct applied research on the effects of industrial processes on the protection, restoration, inventory, monitoring, or reintroduction of species to the natural environment.
  • Conduct scientific protection, mitigation, or restoration projects to prevent resource damage, maintain the integrity of critical habitats, and minimize the impact of human activities.
  • Investigate the adaptability of various animal and plant species to changed environmental conditions.
  • Develop or test protocols to monitor ecosystem components and ecological processes.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Holland Code Chart for an Industrial Ecologist

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