The 2015 SENG conference was held in Adelaide, South Australia, on the 10th and 11th of September. The theme was how to maintain a state of equilibrium for the ecosystem and in turn the economy.
One of the defining challenges facing society today is how we become sustainable. What will society look like in 10, 10, 100+ years? How do we achieve a thriving economy and ecosystem? How do we manage those things that sustain us such as water, ecosystems, energy, and air? Why do business and government need to respond to the challenge? The conference aimed to explore the crucial role engineers play in answering the above questions in the context of the Code of Ethics, which requires engineers to act in the interest of the community and sustainability.
Some highlights from the conference were:
- Aboriginal Karl Telfer’s talk on how the Adelaide area was sustainable for 1000s of years, prior to the Khana being ‘engineered out of existence’. It certainly raised the profile of when engineering is working for society and when its working for a few vested interests. Consider this perspective in the light of the EA code of ethics.
- Earth’s Ecosystems are struggling - This was depicted in a dance film, and technical papers on economics, law, energy, industry and the Q&A panel.
- Engineers are essential for sustainability, but it needs the right (legal and economic) framework to avoid damaging consequences.
- All engineering endeavours should include a full Life Cycle Assessment and capture externalities to avoid a cost burden to future generations.
- SA leads the way when it comes to sustainability in renewables, water savings, waste recycling, plastic bags, and GM free status.
- Technical solutions presented included:
- Innovations and case studies in solar, renewables, micro-grids, biological oil, buildings, efficiency, HVACR, Water, Energy Security, Eco-labeling.
- Telling the narrative, education, psychology of denying clear evidence,
- Tours – to biophillic communities, Solar PV, Trigeneration, Wineries, water management.
- The conference dinner overlooking the Torrens River was vibrant and entertaining, and awards for sustainability were presented.
The organising committee thanks all delegates, presenters and sponsors. Please see the links on the left for further information.