Keywords: environmental education, engineering education, undergraduate students, sustainable development, ethics, morality, environmental sustainability, moral philosophy
Quo vadis global environmental sustainability? A proposal for the environmental education of engineering students
In this paper, the inextricable link between sustainable development and sustainability of the natural environment is pointed out and a heuristic for developing a unique operational definition of sustainable development is proposed. It is argued that if the international community is at all serious about achieving even a modest degree of global environmental sustainability and global sustainable development, determined efforts must be made to reduce consumption by the affluent; that science and technology, however advanced, can only help the process of global sustainable development in a limited way but cannot deliver it; and that moral and ethical education is needed to achieve global environmental sustainability by changing people's attitude to nature and the environment – from one of gross exploitation as at present to that of genuine concern and respect. To this end, a generic outline syllabus, including essential elements of moral philosophy, is proposed for the environmental education of undergraduate engineering students.