ASCE Plot Points Season 4 Episode 8: Are civil engineers doing enough to combat climate change?
It’s a simple question with a complicated answer.
Or maybe it’s a complicated question with a simple answer.
Either way, Emily Grubert, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, makes sense of the chaos on today’s episode.
And our ASCE Student Ambassadors play guest DJ, curating a playlist of songs that sum up what it’s like to be a civil engineering student.
Listen to the episode below, and subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts.
I agree with Professor Grubert in that we have not taken a strong enough stand regarding climate change. As a profession we seem to largely be inclined to see that we will deal with the results of climate change by building and designing all sorts of new things, which tends to be a comfortable approach for us. But as scientists (we are applied scientists in-fact) we need to be more active by making recommendations that deal with the root-causes of climate change.
Unfortunately, we do not fully understand that what we build has to have a direct and strong tie back to people and the environment that people live in. We still do too much of our work for engineering’s sake, rather than for people.
No mention in the podcast of the political will necessary to address climate changes. That should become a primary focus of ASCE. We grade the condition of infrastructure (bridges, roads, water systems, etc.) every year in an effort to raise awareness of critical funding needs with Congress. Why doesn’t ASCE grade Climate Change Conditions? Start at F-. Point out ramifications of not funding and not acting on critical research and public work projects. Point out why Houston floods every year – because wetlands and estuaries are hardscaped in the interest of development and tax revenue. Many, many, many more examples. My state’s congressional delegation refuses to admit that climate change (man-made or not) even exists! ASCE needs to take the lead in public relations and lobbying in this regard.