TED Conversations

Aleksander Booker

Student, Athens Latino Center for Education and Services

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Environmental engineers: do they do more for the environment than help solve our waste/water problems?

I'm an aspiring environmental engineer, in that I hope to use engineering skills to address environmental problems while performing a social good (think building wells in Africa).

The environment is a huge field, but it seems that environmental engineers *only* work on water projects and waste management. When you look at the TED talks above, and the profiles of people working on what you might consider environmental projects (windmills, dams, green building, etc), those people tend to be architects and mechanical, agricultural, chemical and electrical engineers.

So my question is: is this all that environmental engineers can do? Is the profession misnamed, or are there environmental engineers who are working on more varied projects than waste management and water issues?


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  • Mar 8 2013: No. They are involved in pollution control, green energy, carbon footprint, life-cycle management of projects, enviromental impact of technological options, and many other things. Check out these sites:


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      Mar 12 2013: Robert, thanks for your response. I have seen those websites, but they offer mostly vague generalizations. I was hoping for more specific, real-life responses.

      For example, I have no doubt that environmental engineers are 'involved' in green energy but, from what I've seen, they are involved only tangentially (measuring the environmental impact of hydroelectric dams, which goes back to water issues), while the actual development of green energy resources is done by chemical engineers.

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