We live in a decade where our world has been plagued by incessant dangers from viruses to wildfires. Our planet has been plunged deep into despair and darkness. Men have become distrustful of each other, paving the way to hostility. These inclement adversities have planted the seeds of distrust and pessimism deep into our minds. It is very crucial to nip the bud lest this seed nurture itself and submerge our world into eternal darkness.
As the population increases exponentially, we are running out of time and resources to undo these problems. The fast paced and hectic lifestyle of today only exacerbates the sobriety of the situation.
It has become the need of the hour to address these concerns to prevent the gradual unravelling of our society.
We have come a long way in engineering; from the primitive tools of cave men to modern machines. We are witness to the unparalleled prowess of man in the realm of engineering. Thus, long-term thinking in doing what we do best can guarantee a better future. Engineers are drivers of economic opportunity, positive social impact, and advances in technology innovation. This comes from leveraging advances in research to develop and deliver new products, services and enterprises that generate jobs and benefit society (Royal Academy of Engineering 2023). Engineering is the skeleton of our society; engineers ascertain that our society can function properly by providing the necessary infrastructure and tools. There is an increase in ‘green’ engineering jobs and the trend is likely to continue. In the past 5 years postings for ‘green’ engineering jobs have increased by 55% and postings requiring ‘green skills’ by 48% (EngineeringUK 2023), while in the US, it is predicted that 140,000 new engineering jobs will be created by US alone (US Bureau of Labour Statistics 2018). These numbers are indicative of the importance of engineering and if duly harnessed may be able to foster optimism about the future.
Long term thinking is one of the key features of engineering as each & every infrastructure is designed to last for a prolonged period. The future is unforeseen and capricious however, with the aid of engineering, our transition into tomorrow can be optimistic and expeditious.
The prescience of engineers enables them to plan for the unseen future, thus they can nurture optimism among us thereby neutralising the seeds of distrust and pessimism.
It is predicted that many coastal cities are set to be submerged (G Erkens, T. Bucx, R. Dam, G. de Lange, J. Lambert 2015). This is further aggravated by rising sea levels due to global warming.
By re-engineering these cities, it is possible to prevent the inundation of cities like Venice & Jakarta which would undoubtedly cause a mass exodus. If this plight can be prevented, it would provide the residents with assuagement and optimism. Long term thinking can then prevent this from happening to other cities.
Similarly, engineering can help provide potable water to the 2 billion people who lack safely managed services of drinking water. (WHO/UNICEF 2021).
Due to the inaccessibility of water, people have lost hope & vigour, however, engineering can help exploit sea water desalination for drinking, rainwater harvesting and optimise existing systems to ensure that the unprivileged people who didn’t have the access to safe water, get a new chance at life with a renewed purpose and hope in their eyes.
Engineering can not only help to ease life and bring optimism in the present, but also the future. People know that engineering can improve their current quality of life, but it can do so for the future too, and this fosters optimism about the future. With the aid of engineering, we can make our world a more hospitable place for generations to come.
Royal Academy of Engineering (2023) ENGINEERING ECONOMY & PLACE. https://raeng.org.uk/media/o0hkijvw/engineering-economy-and-place-report-june-2023.pdf (Accessed: October 12, 2023).
ENGINEERINGUK (2023) engineering-skills-needs-now-and-into-the-future_report_. https://www.engineeringuk.com/media/318944/engineering-skills-needs-now-and-into-the-future_report_fv.pdf (Accessed: October 13, 2023).
Torpey, E. (2018) Engineers: Employment, pay, and outlook: Career Outlook: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2018/article/engineers.htm.
Erkens, G. et al. (2015) 'Sinking coastal cities,' Proceedings of IAHS, 372, pp. 189–198. https://doi.org/10.5194/piahs-372-189-2015.
Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2020: Five years into the SDGs. Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 2021. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.