The World Economic Forum’s 2021 analysis of the global risk landscape identifies the failure to act to address climate change and future threats from infectious diseases as having the highest likelihood of occurrence and the highest potential impact on the world. This analysis aligns with the outlook of engineering organizations such as the National Academy of Engineering and the American Society of Civil Engineers in their work to define the engineering challenges of the 21st Century. Engineering Change Lab – USA (ECL-USA) Summit 11 featured a deep dive into how engineering and the engineering community might be transformed by the way it responds to the emerging risks of climate change.
THE AFTERMATH OF THE TEXAS ENERGY CRISIS: Engineering and the Rising Tide of Extreme Weather Events
By: Mike McMeekin & Kyle Davy
This winter’s polar vortex event in Texas and across the Midwest provides yet another example of the threats we face from extreme weather made worse by climate change. Multiple failures across interconnected infrastructure systems resulted in extensive, serious health and safety consequences for people who relied on these systems along with economic consequences that will be felt for years.
Sharing Good Work
ECL-USA appreciates the good work being done by other organizations that we have collaborated with to advance the future of engineering. See below for three recent examples.
Engineering for One Planet
The Engineering for One Planet (EOP) Initiative has launched a new website as a resource for the global engineering education community. Mobilized by The Lemelson Foundation and VentureWell in collaboration with hundreds of stakeholders, EOP seeks to establish environmental sustainability as a core tenet of engineering education. The site provides a curricular framework and other toolkits for educators, and additional resources, information and events for the community. The curricular framework is currently being piloted by five universities: ASU’s Polytechnic School, Oregon State University College of Engineering, UCF College of Engineering & Computer Science, University of Maryland – A. James Clark School of Engineering, and Villanova University College of Engineering. Visit the site for more resources and information, and to sign up for updates: http://bit.ly/3qmKsHc
American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Circular Economies for Food and Agricultural Systems Initiative
ASABE’s new initiative is intended to “promote circular agricultural and environmental systems in the food industry in order to best meet the increasing demands of the growing global population while sustaining availability of natural resources and the health of ecosystems.”
Seattle Infrastructure Week
For those of you in the Pacific Northwest, check out Infrastructure Week 2021, a week to highlight the importance of Seattle’s infrastructure, its workforce and the role of public engagement.
ECL-USA Summit 11, The Imperative of Climate Change and the Future of Engineering
The next Engineering Change Lab – USA (ECL-USA) virtual mini-summit, The Imperative of Climate Change and the Future of Engineering, will be held on March 22, 2021. The summit will explore how engineering and the engineering community could be transformed by the way it responds to the emerging dynamics of climate change and the threat it poses to our world. The summit will explore the roles the engineering community can play within and across the private sector (industry), public sector (government), and the non-profit sector (NGOs and research universities) to catalyze action, facilitate communication, foster collaboration, drive innovation and entrepreneurship, and shape climate change public policy. In the final portion of the summit, we will reflect on the potential emergence of a “noble purpose” for the engineering community centered on the climate change imperative.
Register for the summit at the link below.
Our provocateurs will inform and frame this discussion from their different perspectives.
• Dr. Bill Rouse will provide an overview of the grand challenge of climate change. Dr. Rouse is Research Professor in the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University and … Read More
2020 and the Future of Engineering
As 2020 comes to an end, all of us are reflecting on a year unlike any other in recent history.
• Early in the year, the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, more than 18 million Americans have been infected, over 300,000 Americans have died earlier than they should have, and our health care system has been strained to the breaking point. The pandemic has caused major loss of jobs and has had worldwide economic impacts that will be felt for years. There have been social and cultural impacts on the way we live and work. The greatest economic and social impacts have been absorbed by those with the least resources.
• In May, the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of the police triggered nationwide demonstrations and an awakening to the impacts of racial injustice, including recognition that systemic application of public policy has contributed to this injustice.
• We experienced another year of devastating impacts from extreme weather events, particularly wildfires and hurricanes, that were exacerbated by the continuing effects of long-term climate change.
• The 2020 election was unlike any other. Record numbers of Americans voted despite the pandemic. The election highlighted the sharp political polarities in our country and the dangerous impacts of conspiracy theories and misinformation spread using technology platforms.
• At the end of the year, we experienced a cyber-security attack that reached deep into multiple federal government agencies and infrastructure-related industries with still unknown impacts.
What has 2020 taught us about the future of engineering?
Summit 10 Wrap-Up
ECL-USA Summit 10, Licensure Models for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is complete. The summit was presented in partnership with the National Society of Professional Engineers and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.
The participants in the summit explored the future of licensure for engineering and the role licensure and regulatory bodies can play in ensuring that engineers and organizations engaged in the development of the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution act in the public interest. The discussion was informed and framed by the perspectives of our summit provocateurs…. Read More