Engineering education for a zero growth economy

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Johnson, Gearold R.
Siller, Thomas J.
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University College Cork
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Engineering as a profession and its educational system grew up in parallel with the development of agrarian capitalism, industrial capitalism and finance capitalism. Engineering has participated heavily in the development and growth of fossil fuels both for materials production and as an energy source; land, sea and air transportation systems; manufacturing; communications; computing; the built environment and many others. Engineering has contributed to non-renewable resource extraction and materials innovations as well as developments in the rise and growth of mass industrialization. Now society faces the need for major changes if society is to survive the existential threats it is facing such as biophysical environment degradation, climate changes, health pandemics, and over population. All of these threats are a result of the economics of unlimited growth which is no longer tenable. How will these unknown threats and challenges affect the engineering profession and in particular engineering education? In this paper we will take a brief view of possible impacts to engineering education for the built environment as it could be affected in a zero growth economy. We hope that this paper will inspire and lead others to inspect other disciplines within engineering education for changes and innovations that a sustainable future may require.
Engineering education , Sustainability , Zero growth economy , Built environment
Johnson, G. R. and Siller, T. J. (2021) ‘Engineering education for a zero growth economy’, EESD2021: Proceedings of the 10th Engineering Education for Sustainable Development Conference, 'Building Flourishing Communities', University College Cork, Ireland, 14-16 June.