Here we are, approaching the end of 2020. The year that was meant to kickstart the decade of delivery; the ten-year countdown to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
It’s turned out to be very different.
The impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on everyone’s lives and livelihoods has been wide reaching and is still ongoing. We have all been challenged in so many different ways. From disruption to the day-to-day activities we have been accustomed to, to fundamentally changing how we can hold relationships with other people – be they our friends, family, colleagues or the person you pass on the street. We’ve all had to adapt to help reduce the risk of transmission.
Just because COVID-19 has caused so much to pause, unfortunately other crises have not stopped. We are still facing a climate and biodiversity crisis and humanitarian crises continue to occur. As an individual in the midst of all this, you might find yourself feeling hopeless, not knowing what to focus your attention on. You might even wonder whether a life disconnected from the rest of the world is a better idea – perhaps setting up in the wilderness or leaving this planet completely. In reality, these options are only possibilities for a few, and do little to address the underlying issues contributing towards these crises.
The way we live on planet Earth is not sustainable, nor is it equitable. To have any hope of the human species continuing to live and flourish here, change is needed. Engineering has a big role to play in giving us that hope.
It is engineering that has found a way to provide clean water, saving lives from waterborne diseases. It is engineering that has found new ways to deliver our electricity, without putting the climate at risk. It is engineering that has built our homes, our workspaces, our places of leisure, giving us safety and protection from the elements. But engineering has only achieved those things when the people involved have chosen to achieve them.
Now is the time for the engineering community to choose to contribute towards our collective hope for a better, sustainable and more equitable future in the best way that engineering can: by accelerating the delivery of the practical ways in which we can realise that hope.
We’ve been working hard at Engineers Without Borders UK over the last year to shift engineering mindsets and skillsets towards addressing those challenges that are fundamentally important to the future of all on this planet.I am under no illusion that our work is close to being done, but through our focus on building the movement and working with our international family of Engineers Without Borders organisations we are doing everything within our power to make headway.
And you can be a part of this. You can choose to have hope in a future that is better for all people and the planet we live on.
Katie Cresswell-Maynard, Chief Executive
Choose hope, a letter from Chief Executive, Katie Cresswell-Maynard