The Year of Sustainable Development

United Nations HeadquartersDid you know that 2015 is the United Nations’ Year of Sustainable Development?

The UN has announced a slate of seventeen sweeping Sustainable Development Goals that aim to change the world:  to end poverty and ensure that everyone has access to clean, safe food and water; to improve health and nutrition; to bring about gender equality and to reduce economic inequality; to give access to sustainable, non-carbon-based energy to all people; and to alter human behavior such that the earth’s climate and ecosystems will be protected through the use of sustainable, resilient, and renewable methods.

These are noble and exciting goals.

How are they to be achieved?

The UN will be holding several conferences this year at which specific action will be discussed:  the specific actions which must be undertaken to turn these lofty goals into reality. You can read about these meetings here, in a piece which talks about the fundamental economic shift which must occur before any real change can come about.

As instructors and professionals in the field of engineering — specifically in the area of sustainable engineering, and engineering that impacts developing communities around the world — what would we say if we were asked to participate in one of these UN conferences? What specific steps would we propose? How would we bring energy to places that are currently dark? What changes would we propose to how cities are organized and constructed? How could our expertise shed light on the goals of food security, water management, and reduction of carbon-emissions?

Sound off in the comments below.

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