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Education in Ecological Engineering - a Need Whose Time Has Come

Dale, Glenn ; Dotro, Gabriela ; Srivastava, Puneet ; Austin, David ; Hutchinson, Stacy ; Head, Peter ; Goonetilleke, Ashantha ; Stefanakis, Alexandros ; Junge, Ranka ; Fernández López-Lavalle, José Antonio ; Weyer, Vanessa ; Truter, Wayne ; Bühler, Devi ; Bennett, John ; Liu, Hongbo ; Li, Zifu ; Du, Jianqiang ; Schneider, Petra ; Hack, Jochen ; Schönborn, Andreas (2022)
Education in Ecological Engineering - a Need Whose Time Has Come.
In: Circular Economy and Sustainability, 2021, 1 (1)
doi: 10.26083/tuprints-00020304
Article, Secondary publication, Publisher's Version

Copyright Information: CC BY 4.0 International - Creative Commons, Attribution.

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Item Type: Article
Type of entry: Secondary publication
Title: Education in Ecological Engineering - a Need Whose Time Has Come
Language: English
Date: 2022
Place of Publication: Darmstadt
Year of primary publication: 2021
Publisher: Springer Nature
Journal or Publication Title: Circular Economy and Sustainability
Volume of the journal: 1
Issue Number: 1
DOI: 10.26083/tuprints-00020304
Corresponding Links:
Origin: Secondary publication service

Overcoming Limitations of Ecology and Engineering in Addressing Society’s Challenges By providing an integrated, systems-approach to problem-solving that incorporates ecological principles in engineering design, ecological engineering addresses, many of the limitations of Ecology and Engineering needed to work out how people and nature can beneficially coexist on planet Earth. Despite its origins in the 1950s, ecological engineering remains a niche discipline, while at the same time, there has never been a greater need to combine the rigour of engineering and science with the systems-approach of ecology for pro-active management of Earth’s biodiversity and environmental life-support systems. Broad consensus on the scope and defining elements of ecological engineering and development of a globally consistent ecological engineering curriculum are key pillars to mainstream recognition of the discipline and practice of ecological engineering.

The Importance of Ecological Engineering in Society In this paper, the importance of ecological engineering education is discussed in relation to the perceived need of our society to address global challenges of sustainable development. The perceived needs of industry, practitioners, educators and students for skills in ecological engineering are also discussed.

The Importance and Need for Ecological Engineering Education The need for integrative, interdisciplinary education is discussed in relation to the scope of ecology, engineering and the unique role of ecological engineering.

Scope for a Universally Recognised Curriculum in Ecological Engineering The scope for a universally recognised curriculum in ecological engineering is presented. The curriculum recognises a set of overarching principles and concepts that unite multiple application areas of ecological engineering practice. The integrative, systems-based approach of ecological engineering distinguishes it from the trend toward narrow specialisation in education. It is argued that the systems approach to conceptualising problems of design incorporating ecological principles is a central tenant of ecological engineering practice.

Challenges to Wider Adoption of Ecological Engineering and Opportunities to Increase Adoption Challenges and structural barriers to wider adoption of ecological engineering principles, embedded in our society’s reliance on technological solutions to environmental problems, are discussed along with opportunities to increase adoption of ecological engineering practice. It is suggested that unifying the numerous specialist activity areas and applications of ecological engineering under an umbrella encompassing a set of core principles, approaches, tools and way of thinking is required to distinguish ecological engineering from other engineering disciplines and scale up implementation of the discipline. It is concluded that these challenges can only be realised if ecological engineering moves beyond application by a relatively small band of enthusiastic practitioners, learning by doing, to the education of future cohorts of students who will become tomorrow’s engineers, project managers, procurement officers and decision makers, applying principles informed by a growing body of theory and knowledge generated by an active research community, a need whose time has come, if we are to deploy all tools at our disposal toward addressing the grand challenge of creating a sustainable future.

Status: Publisher's Version
URN: urn:nbn:de:tuda-tuprints-203049
Additional Information:

Keywords: Ecological engineering, Ecological engineering curriculum, Ecological engineering design, Nature based solutions, Sustainable development, Interdisciplinary education, Systemsbased, Environmental challenges

Classification DDC: 500 Science and mathematics > 550 Earth sciences and geology
600 Technology, medicine, applied sciences > 620 Engineering and machine engineering
Divisions: 11 Department of Materials and Earth Sciences > Earth Science > Ecological Engineering
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2022 13:25
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 08:35
URI: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/id/eprint/20304
PPN: 506142582
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