Engineering Ethics, Sustainable Development and the Law ES 4498F/G
Submitted By:Muhammad Musa Khan
Submitted to:Dr. Kevin Mcguire
The industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th century saw the progress of human kind in manufacturing and energy. The source of this revolution was the discovery of minerals and fossil fuels, which the human race started to exploit without thinking of the consequences on the environment. Fossil fuels were burnt for energy and mines were being dug for minerals without realizing that these activities would alter our atmosphere. It was in the late 20 th century when the comity of nations realized that the past activates have taken a toll on the environment, consequences like “Global Warming” and “Climate Change” have become evident from scientific study, which heralded a need for “Sustainable Development” if the environment is to be protected from further degradation. In 1969 the United States formed a national policy for environmental sustainability by virtue of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) with the aim to “foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations”.1 In 1972 the Stockholm Conference reiterated the need to protect the environment and a resolution from the participant governments to use the resources of the earth in a responsible manner.2 But, the need and immediate action on Sustainable
U.S Environmental Protection Agency. History of Sustainablity Creation of EPA & NEPA. n.d. http://yosemite.epa.gov/r10/oi.nsf/8bb15fe43a5fb81788256b58005ff079/398761d6c3c7184988256fc40 078499b!OpenDocument (accessed 03 25, 2013).
United Nations Environment Programme. Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. n.d. http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?documentid=97&articleid=1503 (accessed 03 25, 2013).
Development was highlighted by the World Commission on Environment and Development report in 1987 “Brundtland Report” which stated that if we keep on using the resources and damaging the environment the way we are will increase instability. So, new approach has to be used in using the resources of earth and effort has to be made by all human beings to protect the environment for sustenance.3 The commission also gave the world a definition of sustainable development on the principles of which modern policies are formulated “development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”4 After this report the governments all over the world started looking at their policies and practices to make them more environmental and resource efficient so they can contribute their share in reducing the adverse effects on the environment. The UN Conference on Environment and Development held in 1992 saw greater participation of states as well as the scope of issues broadened. Agenda 21 of the conference called out to comity of nations to take practical steps in sustaining the resources of the world and contribution to limit environmental damage. The important thing about this agenda was that it addressed cities as well because cities are the building units of a country and if the cities
Pearce, David, and Giles Atkinson. THE CONCEPT OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:AN EVALUATION OF ITS USEFULNESS TEN YEARS AFTER BRUNDTLAND. CSERGE Working Paper PA 98-02, London: Centre for Social and Economic Research Centre for Social and Economic Research University College London & University of East Anglia, 1997. 4
World Commission on Environment & Development. Our Common Future. Commission Report, New York: United Nations , 1987.
become responsible then the whole country would become an example of sustainable development.5 In 2002, World Summit on Sustainable Development was...