Engineering Sustainable Development

by John Prendergast, Managing Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 10, Pg. 39-42

Document Type: Feature article


Despite some isolated environmental victories in the past few decades, on a system-wide level the problems—from acid rain to destruction of the rain forest—are getting worse. Can humanity reform the industrialized world from its wasteful ways and raise living standards in the developing world without fatally overloading demand on the planet's resources? One possible way is through the concept of sustainable development. In essence, sustainable development is an effort to use technology to help clean up the mess it helped make, and engineers will be central players in its success or failure. Key aspects include more efficient energy use through conservation measures and switching to renewable sources, waste minimization, much greater recycling and reuse of materials, more comprehensive economic/environmental assessments employing life cycle analyses, and better management of resources.

Subject Headings: Acid rain | Recycling | Sustainable development | Waste management | Energy efficiency | Industrial wastes | Overloads | Failure analysis

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