Bringing engineering into the climate change discussion

Geoengineering has emerged in recent years as a highly controversial solution for dealing climate change. Andrew Revkin recently discussed this on his blog in more detail, and Yale 360 has a great article posted today, A Hard Look at the Perils and Potential of Geoengineering.  Essentially geoengineering focuses on finding human made methods to use technology to change the earth’s environment, and in the case of climate change ways of using technology to mitigate the effects of climate change. The following video gives a humorous, but clear and basic introduction to some of the ideas that have emerged in the geoengineering field.

Regardless of the controversy that surrounds geoengineering, it presents a great opportunity to use climate change as a platform to discuss climate change and possible solutions. In our home state of Minnesota, as in many states, engineering has become a part of the science standards that must be addressed in the classroom. Some of the standards a classroom discussion and student research about geoengineering might address include :

-Engineers create, develop and manufacture machines, structures, processes and systems that impact society and may make humans more productive.

-Engineering design is the process of devising products, processes and systems that address a need, capitalize on an opportunity, or solve a specific problem.

– Engineering is a way of addressing human needs by applying science concepts and mathematical techniques to develop new products, tools, processes and systems.

-Engineering design is an analytical and creative process of devising a solution to meet a need or solve a specific problem.

-Science and engineering operate in the context of society and both influence and are influenced by this context.

-Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics rely on each other to enhance knowledge and understanding.

(Minnesota Department of Education Science Standards 6-8, 9-12 )

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