Welcome to our interview series where we speak with purpose-driven and sustainability-focused professionals from around the globe. Every few weeks, we’ll dive into their journeys, learn about their wins and challenges, and the resources they couldn’t do without.
Prepare to be inspired and learn something new!
Today’s guest is Nikola Milošević, an environmental protection analyst and freelance ecologist.
Please tell us a little bit about who you are, your background, and your current job. What inspired you to start a career in sustainability and what was your journey to where you are now?
Hi, my name is Nikola Milošević, living in Serbia and Croatia. I graduated Environmental Protection at University of Belgrade in 2015. and got a Master’s degree as environmental protection analyst. For the last four years, I have been working as a freelancer, I work on various projects that are in environmental protection, ecology, renewable energy, and the circular economy sphere. In addition to this, I am also engaged in agriculture. We, as a family, have a small-scale agricultural holding where we have an olive grove and produce olive oil, vegetable garden with seasonal vegetables and beehives from which we get honey, propolis, and other bee products. We sell all these products on the local market and from farm directly.
What’s your day-to-day like?
It is very season oriented, in the spring, summer, and autumn the agricultural work is something I prefer to finish first, and then I work on my environmental protection projects. In the winter, since there is not so much work in the field I move to the city and I have a lot more time to dedicate to the projects.
What do you like the most about the work you do?
Since it is project based, it can be very dynamic, projects can last from 1 month to more than a year and there is always something new going on and every project is different. Also, I work on projects that cover all the specter of environmental protection, from recycling, waste management, nature conservations, reduction of CO2, renewable energy, green initiatives, energy efficiency. This way I have an opportunity to get a wider picture and get a better understanding about the problem and solutions.
How does your work address societal and/or environmental issues?
I, as an analyst and researcher, intend, through research and analysis in various fields, to bring together information on new technologies, best practices, good solutions, and all other important data that can be helpful in the areas I deal with. Selection and verification of information, its categorization, and visual presentation can make a difference and help in making decisions important for the environment.
In your experience, what are the main challenges of working with mission-driven and/or sustainability-focused businesses?
Everything is changing so fast, staying up to date with all aspects of this job can be very challenging. New regulations, new technologies, new strategies, everything is evolving very fast, and monitoring these processes is very important in this type of business.
Is there anything that you do outside of your work that is driven by similar (sustainability) objectives?
I could say everything. I try to apply the concept of sustainability in all spheres of my life. I always go back to Gandhi’s saying that the world is enough for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed. I try to live by those words.
In your opinion, what are the top skills necessary to be successful at a “green job”?
Multidisciplinary approach, the ability to combine different factors important for environmental protection is perhaps the most important skill for this type of work. For this story to be successful, it is necessary to connect the government, NGO sector, industry, companies, and man as an individual.
What green careers/sectors do you see growing the fastest right now and/or will become mainstream within the next 10 years?
From my experience, the biggest focus will be on renewable energy sources, the capture of CO2, and its reduction energy efficiency. We already have the red alarm on for these issues and any technology that can help with this will be important. And I believe that the careers in these sectors will be the mainstream, as you said, in the next 20-30 years.
What are the most common mistakes or misperceptions you have seen when it comes to green careers?
Often people forget or are not even aware that this type of work, in my humble opinion, is more than just a monetary, commercial value. Mistakes are made by valuing some things only through the prism of market value. The knowledge that the protection of the planet earth, which is the essence of all ‘green jobs’ is something more than just business is something we must always be aware of.
You have a diverse background and experience working in environmental protection. Could you highlight some of the key differences and potential green career paths within industries/sectors you’ve worked with?
Management and analysis of data in the field of environmental protection is a very dynamic sector, especially because, with the help of new technologies, the ability to collect and process various data in real time is developing extremely fast. Today, very easily, with few resources, you can monitor the production of electricity from a wind farm or solar power plant, the state of air pollution in some remote place, or the process of wastewater treatment. This brings a large amount of data that must be timely and properly processed and presented in order to get the right picture which leads us to the fact that this type of work will be increasingly needed and valued.
Any “lessons learned” or advice you can share with others looking to succeed in their purpose-driven career?
Everything can be solved, perseverance, focus, and commitment to the goal always bring results.
What inspires you every day to wake up and keep going?
Faith that anyone can make a difference and hope, that we, as a society, move in the right direction.
Nikola Milošević holds a master’s degree in environmental protection analysis from the University of Belgrade. For the last 5 years, he has been working as a freelancer on various environmental projects. Through these projects, he had the opportunity to get acquainted with various aspects of the environmental protection sector.
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