• Question: If you could change the world by engineering what would you do?

    Asked by The BrightSpark to Ashwanth, Jeni, Mark, Natalie, Stephen on 10 Jun 2016.
    • Photo: Mark Gowan

      Mark Gowan answered on 10 Jun 2016:

      minimise the effect of natural disasters such as Earthquakes, Flooding, Hurricanes and Typhoons. We cannot stop them occurring but we can make things safer for us.

    • Photo: Natalie Wride

      Natalie Wride answered on 10 Jun 2016:

      Hi BrightSpark 🙂

      This is such a great question! One of the reasons I chose to be an Engineer (and why Engineering exists!) is because it is all about identifying problems and working on practical solutions to solve them – things you can see and use around you.

      If I could change the world by Engineering I’d make people safer from disasters. There are so many natural disasters we can’t stop happening or cannot know when they will happen at the moment. Around the world there are floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and tornados and also things like landslides which can happen because of earthquakes and floods. These can leave people’s homes destroyed, and in poor countries where large shanty towns exist, this can result in huge catastrophes because lots of people are unprotected. These disasters also affect roads and infrastructure (making it difficult to rescue trapped people and mean more costly repairs).

      As a Civil Engineer, we can work to reduce the damage from disasters but if I could do anything with Engineering, I’d solve these problems to eliminate it! It’s so difficult though, I don’t think one solution will solve all of these things – do you have any ideas?!

    • Photo: Stephen Richardson

      Stephen Richardson answered on 10 Jun 2016:

      This is a great question. The problem is that if you want to change the world, you really have to change people. And I don’t think any amount of engineering can do that.
      It can definitely help though and the examples Mark and Natalie have given are great.
      I reckon in the future a lot more people are going to be suffering from drought and famine. So engineering better access to safe water would be a good thing to work on.

    • Photo: Jeni Spragg

      Jeni Spragg answered on 12 Jun 2016:

      Hmm, that’s a big one! I wouldn’t know where to start!

      It would be great to engineer a great big system that coordinates all of the planet’s electricity.

      Renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and tidal are a fantastic way to get electricity which isn’t bad for the planet, but they only work some of the time – what do you do when the sun goes down or the win slows down? So we are still relying on electricity from fossil fuels and nuclear power stations to make sure we always have electricity when we need it.

      So it would be great if we had a system where countries could help each other out. For example, solar power in the desert in Australia could make sure the UK had electricity during the night.

      Now, I just need a few trillion dollars to sort it out…better start saving!