Balancing Middle Earth: Integrating Ecological Sustainability and Effective Research into a Professional Engineering Degree in New Zealand
Major international assessments have concluded that resource depletion is rampant and society has overshot its ecological capacity. Therefore, education of future generations charged with reversing these trends is essential for environmental sustainability. Engineers impact on biophysical supplies and ensuing wastes so are critical players for ensuring that ecosystems can support current and future civilisations. We report on successful learning outcomes with a professional engineering degree in New Zealand where many assignments relate to realworld problem solving in partnership with nature. These include calculating ecological footprints and core research courses integrated into the community. Students are instructed in the principles of interdependent ecosystems and societies and engage in active learning activities through numerous exercises relating to environmental sustainability throughout their degree. Measures of success are demonstrated and barriers towards effective integration of environmental sustainability in engineering education are highlighted.