Ethics, engineering and the environment: Is Hawking correct... is it all too late?

Buckeridge, J and Brumley, J 2006, 'Ethics, engineering and the environment: Is Hawking correct... is it all too late?', in Creativity, Challenge, Change. Partnerships in Engineering Education, International benchmarking, Auckland, New Zealand, 10-13 December 2006.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

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Title Ethics, engineering and the environment: Is Hawking correct... is it all too late?
Author(s) Buckeridge, J
Brumley, J
Year 2006
Conference name Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education
Conference location Auckland, New Zealand
Conference dates 10-13 December 2006
Proceedings title Creativity, Challenge, Change. Partnerships in Engineering Education, International benchmarking
Publisher Auckland University of Technology
Place of publication Auckland, New Zealand
Abstract In 1999 an international benchmarking project, involving an annual delivery of an environmental ethics course was established between Auckland University of Technology (Auckland), RMIT University (Melbourne) and Wismar University of Technology, Business and Design (Germany). The impetus for this was twofold: firstly to addresscurriculum requirements under the Washington Accord, and secondly (and perhaps more importantly), to ensure that engineering graduates enter the workforce as advocates of good practice in the "4 Es": Ethics (social, cultural and moral), Environment (ecological and conservational), Economic (fiscal) and Engineering (technical). If durability is a measure of success, the project has done well; indeed, in 2005 a Norwegian university joined the project, and earlier this year, a Brazilian university has applied to participate. However, there is growing evidence that despite widespread public awareness of global issues, global environmental degradation continues unabated. This paper provides an overview of a recent and very pessimistic proclamation by renowned British physicist Dr Stephen Hawking, who concluded that there is no future for humanity on this planet. Although Hawking's views are not universal, (there are strong proponents of the opposite view), it is widely viewed that any solution to mitigate environmental collapse must involve a multidisciplinary approach, and that engineering would be pivotal amongst the disciplines involved. This paper explores the imperative of exposing undergraduates to the big questions in the "environment debate" in anticipation that they will, more effectively, be able to contribute to resolution of problems.
Subjects Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) environmental curriculum
educational research
professional practice
Copyright notice © 2006 Australasian Association of Engineering Education
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