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International 2013 Materials Education Symposium

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What is Sustainable Technology? And How to Develop it

Dr Karel Mulder | TU Delft

What is Sustainable Technology? And How to Develop it

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Sustainable Development is the challenge of the 21st century. The challenges that our planet faces to provide for a population of unprecedented size are giant. New technologies inevitably have to play an important role. But at the engineering workfloor, many colleagues have problems in grasping the implications of Sustainable Development for their design work. Many call all their work sustainable as engineering always has been about efficiency, and 'isn't that a key element of Sustainable Development?'. This contribution will go into the question what the implications of Sustainable Development are for engineers and their technological design work. It will be argued that there is not one sustainable future but probably many, although we cannot know which routes will be successful. Sustainable Technology Development is an umbrella for many problems, which can create dilemmas. Solving them requires the contribution of other stakeholders, and therefore the engineer should trained to cooperate with stakeholders, and learn to think in a long term perspectives.