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Macro-Engineering (Water Science and Technology Library)

Macro-engineering And The Future. By Frank P. Edition 1st Edition.

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First Published Later, the great pyramids boasted in stone to the gods of Egypt that we humans, too, could make mountains. In more modern times, Gustav Eiffel's tower-- at the time the tallest building in the world-- was the marvel of the age, a poem in steel. For better or for worse, as our technology becomes more powerful, our engineering feats are moving to planetary scales.

The United States interstate highway system, a network of concrete cumulatively almost a hundred thousand kilometers long, is an engineering structure of continent-spanning scale. By burning fossil fuels and increasing the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere is now creating global effects on the climate of Earth, we are even now altering the climate by our own efforts and returning the planet to the warmer environment that had prevailed in the age of the dinosaurs.

This human-induced global climate change is, so far, an unplanned act of planetary engineering, but actions of similar consequence could be accomplished deliberately, if we want to do so. We can engineer the environments of entire worlds, or at least we will soon be able to do so, if we so choose. In the near term, we will want to engineer the climate of our planet deliberately, and not accidentally. If the warming due to the greenhouse effect is not to our liking, we can and will learn how to change it. Kimber and his ilk are more politicians than teachers?

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Do they have any concept of the battle between those who want to fight air pollution and those who wish to battle so-called global warming? By and large, the pieces on both sides of the issue were thoughtful and well written, with the exception of the Rev. To Witherspoon, apparently the issue is simply one of discrimination.

Witherspoon misses the point entirely. Discrimination is clearly not the issue.

Rather, the issue, which Witherspoon fails even to recognize, involves religious freedom, tolerance and respect for diversity. It is ironic that Witherspoon accuses the religious objector of discrimination. Do we want to live in a society where an observant Jew can be fired for being willing to work any day of the week except Saturday?

Or one in which a veiled Muslim woman or a turbaned Sikh can be sent home from school or work for failing to adhere to an official dress code? Or, more to the point, should our society compel all medical professionals to assist in a procedure that many of them believe involves the taking of a human life?

I, for one, would prefer to live in a society that accommodates religious freedom and diversity of conscience, and I believe that ours is, in fact, such a society.

TDI Challenge: Engineers of the future