Chapter 9 - Moving Forward



This is the final chapter of the module and is intended to highlight next steps from the variety of social, environmental and economic factors that have been outlined in the area of sustainability and engineering. The problems shown demonstrate very real problems the world and society is facing in the coming years. This chapter is intended to answer the question of "that is all very well, but what can we do about it?"

This question is not an easy one to answer, as the problems related to sustainability are complex, linked and of no single source. Logically therefore there are no single "silver bullet" answers to these problems and none are presented here. Instead suggested are concepts, general ideas and methods for an engineer to have in their meta toolbag to equip them to make decisions in their life and career to work towards a sustainable future.

Sustainability has begun to take a more prominent role in the media and society as a whole, as the very obvious problems of exponential growth, resource depletion, environmental pollution and social inequality are becoming more apparent. The role of engineering, in a broad sense a profession of problem solving, is significant. Engineering in itself is a wide and diverse profession, and its applications applied to sustainability are similarly diverse.

The chapter will be split into three sections: the first outlining steps individuals can make in their own lives to address the challenges of sustainability, the second contains suggestions for starting a career in engineering related to sustainability. The final section will give some case study examples of organisations and individuals working in the broad field of sustainability.

Throughout the chapter are blogs, essays and case studies from a variety of authors each giving their own thoughts and experiences of working towards sustainability. The diversity of the authors highlights the fact that there is a need for a diverse range of solutions, and a similarly wide skill set and approach to problem solving in sustainability. The resources are there to provide ideas and inspiration for you to decide if and where you can place yourself to be most effective working for a better world.

Above image sourced from Climate Lab under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license