on April 15th, 2021

April 22 marks Earth Day, an international day of environmental actions that draws in an estimated one billion people. The theme for 2021 is ‘Restore Our Earth’, drawing focus to how engineers will continue to play a huge role in creating innovative solutions.

The theme ‘Restore Our Earth’ rejects the common idea that our only options to save the planet are to adapt to the impacts of climate change and other environmental damage. Instead, the day of action draws attention to how we can utilize natural system processes and emerging green technologies to restore ecosystems, conserve soils, restore wildlife populations and clean the world’s oceans.  

According to the United Nations, in terms of disseminating knowledge, there is not enough support politically or enough technical capacity in the public and private sectors to invest in all the ecosystem restoration initiatives that would achieve nominal success.   

Now the UN aims to support governments, UN agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations, civil society, private sector companies, farmers, local communities, and individuals globally to collaborate and develop the skills to successfully implement restoration initiatives. 

In response to this support, there are many areas of engineering that can help in the transition to a sustainable future. Let’s take a closer look at some of the specialization fields in which engineers can help make a difference and embody the philosophy of Earth Day. 

1. Pipeline Systems 

Pipeline systems form a key part of global lifeline infrastructure. The vast amounts of oil and gas that are consumed around the world everyday are mainly transported and distributed through pipelines.  

Experts maintain that pipelines are still five times safer than transportation through railway systems, however they are associated with risks due to failures, leading to significant negative consequences. Accidents involving pipelines can have an impact on soil, water, wildlife and established ecosystems. Therefore, it is increasingly importance that the future of pipeline systems considers appropriate ecological decisions and response plans.   

Well maintained pipelines require a clear grasp on the millions of kilometres of pipeline systems operating in the world today. Strong skills in pipeline engineering allow for an in-depth understanding of applicable standards and specifications of pipeline design, operation, installation and maintenance.   

EIT’s Professional Certificate of Competency in Onshore and Offshore Pipeline Systems aims to give pipeline engineers valuable insight when working on or with these systems. The course covers 12 modules that include key topics like liquid and gas flow, asset management, and effective maintenance.  

2. Renewable Energy 

Renewable energy is not only a buzzword, it is an essential component for future cities and ensuring natural resources aren’t squandered. According to Earth Day, switching fossil fuels for renewable energy like wind and solar power is the simplest and most effective way to lessen humanity’s carbon footprint. 

Renewable energy is desperately needed for a variety of reasons, and the world needs engineers that are going to help reach our goals of sustainability. Engineers are needed to research, design and construct ways to improve how we use energy and furthermore, find new sustainable sources of energy.  

EIT’s 52859WA - Graduate Certificate in Renewable Energy Technologies is delivered with a strong emphasis on vocational application and aims to impart practical and advanced knowledge. Students will be faced with the practical contentions of renewable energy through critical analysis of various renewable energy sources.  

From solar irradiation to energy sources like water or wind, students who complete this six-month course will be skilled in a variety of systems that generate energy as well as the economic outcomes of these systems and practices. 

3. Biosolid Management 

Biosolids in sewage have become a commodity, in that they can be used in a variety of ways including green roofs, construction, and plant fertilization. The treatment of biosolids and water management is important, as it not only affects climate change but also counteracts water pollution as well as air pollution. 

City workers, engineers, and city planners must understand available systems in managing sewage and water. EIT’s Professional Certificate of Competency in Sewage and Effluent Treatment Technologies covers water fundamentals, planning, water treatment as well as biosolid disposure. Well run water systems are one of the greatest assets in city planning and running a tight ship that doesn’t damage the environment. 

4. Sustainable Cities 

According to the UN, urban areas sprawl only 1% of the earth’s surface, yet more than half of the global population live in cities. For urban areas to comply with the goals set by UN Decade and the sustainable development of urban areas the world needs engineers.  

Cities and towns are ecosystems in themselves, and radical transformation is needed to ensure the quality of life for inhabitants. The role of civil engineers now is to effectively manage roadways, areas of industry, and design areas that also allow for the inclusion of urban wetlands, effective drainage systems, permeable sidewalks, and sustainable nodes in cities.  

Throughout EIT’s 52724WA - Advanced Diploma of Civil and Structural Engineering, students are trained to think about environmental issues and their connection to engineering technologies. Furthermore, the course avoids too much emphasis on theory. Lecturers are experienced engineers who bring their knowledge of working in the field to the classroom to ensure students have a profound impact to build and develop urban areas. 

Get Involved with Earth Day 2021 

Earth Day is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working in 192 countries to build environmental democracy which allows anyone to get involved in actively preserving the environment. Annually around 1 billion people take part in the observance of the day. 

Engineers have always pushed boundaries, to find the limits of what is possible and make it happen. Now more than ever it is important that engineering is given the license to do what is needed to ensure we have a better tomorrow. 

For more information on Earth Day activities in your country, click here.  

References 

UN Decade Executive Summary, 2019. UN Decade 2030. Resources. [online] Decades of Restoration. Available at Resources | UN Decade on Restoration [Accessed 13 April 2021] 

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