A Sustainable Earth: the Engineer's Role

The article "Blueprint for a Sustainable Earth," Dec. 16, stops short of what is really needed for a sustainable earth.

Sustainable society calls for fundamental changes in the rules that govern economic and social development as they affect the world's environment. Many leaders have recognized that sustainability, security, and political stability are all part of the equation for peace in our rapidly evolving multipolar world.

A sustainable world does not mean a stagnant economy, but it will take a special breed of expert - a problem solver with a global view. I have been challenging the engineering profession to play a bigger role as facilitator in the sustainable future.

Historically, engineering has been seen as a tool for converting dreams into material reality, but the future will demand more. We must begin to consider problems in a broader context, to search for sustainable alternatives, to cultivate multidisciplinary teamwork, and to continually educate ourselves in environmental science and other key areas.

An array of challenges must be successfully overcome if we are to achieve a sustainable future for all generations. If mutual security, economic prosperity, and en- vironmental health are the ends, then sustainable engineering is a necessary means in this vision of a new world.

We can't afford to wait on "the Pearl Harbor in the battle to save the planet." Lt. Gen. H.J. Hatch, Washington, Chief of Engineers, Department of the Army

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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