Thousands of professional engineers, engineering students and hundreds of organisations are expected to sign a declaration committing to steering the profession towards reducing carbon emissions in Australia.
Australian Engineers Declare (AED) is a volunteer-led organisation that launched on 20 September with a 12-point declaration aimed at mobilising the engineering sector to take more action on climate change. The declaration states that "Engineering activities are connected with over 65% of Australia's direct greenhouse gas emissions" and implores engineers as respected problem-solvers to commit to strengthening work practices "to create systems, infrastructure, technology and products that have a positive impact on the world".
Within two months AED has signed up 1556 engineers, 164 engineering students and 133 engineering organisations, along with numerous supporters, all listed on its website. AED, whose founding partner is Engineers Without Borders Australia, is co-ordinated by environmental engineer Lizzie Webb, along with EWB personnel Mel Audrey, Jacqui Bell and Jane Hadjion. And as it continues to grow, the group is seeking more volunteers and pro bono support to amplify its work.
Among those signed up to AED are the University of NSW's Engineering School and Arup Australia. Dean of Engineering at UNSW, Professor Mark Hoffman, said the school joined the movement because it recognises that engineers need to take into account the environmental impact of their work while Arup Australia's Chairman, Peter Chamley, said engineers have the power and knowledge to act.
“Engineers are uniquely placed to make a significant contribution to tacking climate change, through the projects we choose to do and how we choose to do them, our ability to solve complex problems and the investments in research and innovation that we make,” he told The Guardian.