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Engineers are cool! Give them a technical problem and they will design a technical solution. Usually, however, we don’t ask engineers to decide whether a project is worthwhile, or whether people, animals, or the planet may suffer as a result.

Award-winning professor Alice Pawley brings a new vision of engineering education to the Sunshine Coast—one that is more inclusive, engaged and socially just.

St. Hilda’s Green Forum speaker series will host Pawley’s presentation “Connecting the Climate Crisis and Social Justice: In Search of a Moral Infrastructure for Engineers,” at St. Hilda’s Church on Friday, June 17 at 7pm. This free event is offered both in-person and online via Zoom.

Engineers play an outsized part in designing and controlling how we live our lives. They are at work on our buildings, textiles, food and water supply, communications, transportation and medical systems, often in ways we are unaware of, or that seem beyond the understanding of ordinary folk.  Their technical knowledge and expertise seem unquestionable and unassailable. Yet their systems incorporate values that are of deep and enduring significance.

That engineers must help us respond to the crisis of climate change is obvious. But can they? Pawley, Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University, argues that we educate engineers without a moral infrastructure for sufficiently thinking about the most important questions of the day, including both climate change and matters of social justice, and suggests a way forward that involves us all. 

Pawley, who has deep roots on the Sunshine Coast and has been coming here each summer for decades, is a professor in the School of Engineering Education and an affiliate faculty member in Environmental and Ecological Engineering and the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Purdue University. She has received over $5M (US) in federal research funding, and has been recognized by Purdue University with an Award for Excellence in Mentoring, the Award for Leadership, and a 2019 award as an Outstanding Faculty Mentor of Engineering Graduate Students. She has received numerous national awards for best papers and her innovative research.

The Green Forum series, which takes place at St. Hilda’s Church at 5838 Barnacle Street in Sechelt, creates opportunities for discussion of environmental issues and how individuals and communities can take effective action.  To attend the presentation by Zoom, email to request an event link.