Engineering Sustainability: A Technical Approach to Sustainability
Sustainability is a critically important goal for human activity and development. Sustainability in the area of engineering is of great importance to any plans for overall sustainability given 1) the pervasiveness of engineering activities in societies, 2) their importance in economic development and living standards, and 3) the significant impacts that engineering processes and systems have had, and continue to have, on the environment. Many factors that need to be considered and appropriately addressed in moving towards engineering sustainability are examined in this article. These include appropriate selection of resources bearing in mind sustainability criteria, the use of sustainable engineering processes, enhancement of the efficiency of engineering processes and resource use, and a holistic adoption of environmental stewardship in engineering activities. In addition, other key sustainability measures are addressed, such as economics, equity, land use, lifestyle, sociopolitical factors and population. Conclusions are provided related both to pathways for engineering sustainability and to the broader ultimate objective of sustainability.
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