Canadian Consulting Engineer

CHAIR’S REPORT: Your Membership Dollars at Work

As my year as ACEC Chair comes to an end I wish to report that the implementation of our new Strategic Plan is progressing with both a respect and recognition for the past and a strong emphasis on pos...

June 1, 2001  By Dave Chalcroft

As my year as ACEC Chair comes to an end I wish to report that the implementation of our new Strategic Plan is progressing with both a respect and recognition for the past and a strong emphasis on positioning our industry for the future. In this latter respect, one of the most important emerging issues for our industry is to understand how consulting engineers can play a practical role in addressing the sustainability of our natural and built environments. It is why we made this theme the subject of our 77th National Convention in Kelowna, June 17-19, 2001.

Sustainable Development means different things to different people. Some see it as the route to eliminate poverty in the developing world; others see it as the tool to roll back development and re-establish the natural environment; while still others see it as a way to fight global warming by reducing carbon emissions through the Kyoto Protocol. All of these expectations are of course true … and false.

The world’s population today exceeds six billion and is likely to reach 10 billion during this 21st century. This expansion creates the need to find new growth management paradigms for businesses and governments, from the community level, to the nation state and the global village.

Even if carbon emissions are reduced to Kyoto levels, water and air temperatures are still expected to rise several degrees during the 21st century, causing polar ice caps and glacier fields to shrink and sea levels to rise perhaps a metre or more. Weather patterns will change; and coastal cities will be exposed to the risk of flooding.

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Technological advances are presenting us with the means to address these conflicting trends. The consulting engineer’s greatest challenge for the future will be in developing innovative and practical business and technical solutions for their clients that strike the proper balance between economic, social and environmental considerations.

By helping to address these challenges, consulting engineers will be helping to lead the way to a more sustainable future and will be seen by clients and the general public as valuable contributors to their quality of life. At the National Convention in Kelowna, ACEC and its membership were pleased to start the campaign.

DAVE CHALCROFT, P.ENG., CHAIR

ASSOCIATION OF CONSULTING ENGINEERS OF CANADA

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