An Encouraging Evening – Professional Engineers talk Sustainability

PEO-EngineeringDimensionsI was invited last night to attend a sustainability seminar put on by the Ottawa Chapter of the Professional Engineers of Ontario.

It was quite uplifting. Consider:

  • the event was sold out, capped at 150 seats, the most popular event that the PEO has held
  • the first speaker – discussing Bio Diesel – began his presentation with a slide similar to the one below, emphasizing the link between


    concentrations and the world’s temperature tracked through past ice ages

  • pretty much all the speakers (including the Toyota rep, shamelessly amping his brand) gave considerable focus to climate change


Image credit - Skeptical Science website

Image credit – Skeptical Science website

It was clear that among the gang in this room, climate change and the need to address it was unquestioned.

I was talking to one of the attendees about climate change and he pointed out that in the most recent edition of the PEO magazine Engineering Dimensions (pictured above) there is an article on how engineers need to take climate change into account in their work because there may be legal liability if they don’t (article begins on page 27).

This put me in mind of Ottawa Deputy City Manager Nancy Schepers who during the release of information about the cause of the sinkhole spoke of her duty to protect the public as a Professional Engineer. It must be a tough balancing act for city staff who know that they should be doing things to address climate change in Ottawa, but are prevented by the current atmosphere in city hall; one under which the sustainability group was disbanded, greenhouse gas reduction targets are missed and not revisited, climate change plans expire and are not renewed.

But it did feel good to be in a room full of “friends.”

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