Meeting the challenges of engineering a sustainable future

Thorpe, David (2018) Meeting the challenges of engineering a sustainable future. International Journal of GEOMATE, 14 (43). pp. 8-18. ISSN 2186-2982


Engineers have a significant role in the sustainable development and management of resources. This responsibility encompasses the three generally accepted dimensions of sustainability – environment, economic and social - and applies to engineering projects throughout their life cycle. Sustainable engineering practice is supported by professional engineering associations, such as Engineers Australia, which includes the promotion of sustainability as a principle of its Code of Ethics. It has also been given impetus by the recent Paris Agreement on climate change. However, while there has been considerable progress in this field, there is much work required to achieve a truly sustainable future. While the industry has a major role in promoting and encouraging sustainable practices in engineering projects, educators also have a significant role in this process, through developing and fostering the knowledge and skills of sustainability in engineers. At the undergraduate level, this task is normally undertaken through courses that teach the principles of sustainable engineering practice. A major challenge for educators, however, is the ongoing development of the knowledge and skills of sustainable engineering taught in such courses. While postgraduate courses can achieve this objective, the majority of practicing engineers are unlikely to be able to undertake the detailed formal study. Meeting this gap between sustainable engineering knowledge and its implementation, therefore, presents challenges to educators. Possible options proposed include an ongoing commitment by government and society to sustainability in engineering projects, ongoing implementation of innovative sustainable engineering practices, and lifelong learning in sustainable engineering practices by professional engineers.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright © Int. J. of GEOMATE. All rights reserved, including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright proprietors.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2019 04:40
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2019 01:43
Uncontrolled Keywords: sustainability, lifecycle management, resilience, education, professional development
Fields of Research : 09 Engineering > 0915 Interdisciplinary Engineering > 091503 Engineering Practice
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.21660/2018.43.key2

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