The Role of STEAM in a Sustainable World
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Humanity is at a critical juncture where the concept of sustainability can no longer be relegated to armchair discussions or wishful thinking. The hour is late, and it is not enough for us to mitigate the negative impacts we have on the world. We need to embrace sustainability as a core value of human civilization and a necessary part of our everyday lives—we need to move toward a sustainable world. The role of STEAM in this endeavor is crucial to help younger generations avoid the anchors of history and habit that hindered their predecessors from accepting sustainability as a core value. In this chapter, we at Engineers for a Sustainable World share our idea of a sustainable world and of how a well-rounded STEAM approach can better equip engineers in particular and people from other professions in general to contribute to such a world. In particular, we believe that incorporating the arts into an engineering education and out-of-classroom initiatives will help inculcate the kind of creative and holistic thinking required to deal with the multi-faceted challenges of a sustainable world. To exemplify this, we discuss two of our important local projects—the Berkeley Vertical Garden and the Undocu-Wall—where artistic design was a key component of the initiatives, to their benefit.
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