I asked a question in parliament last week about 'green collar' jobs and what more could be done to help arts/ humanities students who are passionate about environmental issues and want to work in this field, but don't have the right scientific or techy background to get onto an applied science Masters course. The answer from the Minister was pretty blunt - they should study STEM subjects in the first place, at A level and at uni. And then he told us what the Government is doing to encourage this, which seems to be paying off.
Actually, I almost didn't get to ask the question because the Table Office objected to my wording which was to ask the Sec of State “What steps he is taking to encourage more people to develop the skills required for green-collar jobs through studying science, engineering and technology subjects at universities.” I got 'carded' which means you get a postcard telling you to call the Table Office to 'discuss' your question. The clerk wanted to know what proof I had of a connection between acquiring such skills and getting green collar jobs, which kind of stumped me because I thought it was obvious. I started explaining about things like green technology and renewables, and then he wanted me just to ask about renewables, and I said there were lots of other uses to which science could be put... but couldn't off the top of my head think of any examples. I may, I fear, have mentioned compost. (It's biology!)
Anyway, here's a good one: geo-engineering the oceans. Can't decide if I should be excited by it, or alarmed, or cynical, or just baffled. But I think if students thought they could end up working on something like this, a few more of them might want to study science.