Can We Engineer Our Way to a Sustainable Future?

[:en]Our Training Manager Rhodri Thomas was recently invited to give a talk to the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineers. He tilted the lecture “Can We Engineer Our Way to a Sustainable Future?” and use it to explore the tensions between what society needs, what it thinks it needs, the environmental limits to meeting these needs and how industry, science and technology is responding. He drew on his own learning journey from being a graduate and researcher in systems ecology to his present role of helping organisations make sense of the principles of sustainable development in their specific context. The crucial link he suggested was the way that energy transitions through systems: natural and sustainably designed systems such as those developed by Permaculture re-circulate energy while traditional engineered systems exploit a linear one-way flow of energy that is permanently lost to the system once the useful work has been done. He cited examples of modern design and engineering which used energy in a more organic way and blurred the boundaries between engineered and ecological systems. He concluded by echoing the late Dr. Steve Harris of the University of Glamorgan and the Schumacher Institute who believed that science and technology, if used responsibly, had a limitless capacity to deliver sustainable prosperity and social justice and should be elevated in the public and political mind as the means by which a sustainable future can be secured.

His talk was followed by a reflective discussion in which the engineering professionals in the audience recalled how their industry has embraced ecological concepts in recent decades. Civil engineering firms are now multi-disciplinary and many in the audience had a life sciences background. While all accepted that engineers have enormous capacity to invent sustainable solutions and employ technology in harmony with nature, the reality is that creativity in engineering is largely constrained by legislation and economic imperatives. All accepted that the industry has and continues to change and despite challenges offers some excellent examples of practical sustainability. There is no room for complacency however and civil engineering companies can learn from other large corporates and should embrace the networking opportunities offered by the newly established partnership between Cynnal Cymru and The Institution of Civil Engineers who have recently joined Cynnal Cymru as a corporate member.

Rhodri is educated to Masters level in Environmental Management and has worked for the Environment Agency and Forum For The Future among others. He has a Professional Graduate Certificate (PGCE) in Adult Education & Training. 

Cynnal Cymru offers a variety of tailored training and professional development packages for individuals and organisations. If you would require further information or would like to discuss your training needs, please contact Rhodri Thomas, Training Manager by emailing training@cynnalcymru.com or telephoning 029 20 192021.[:cy]Yn ddiweddar, gwahoddwyd ein Rheolwr Hyfforddi, Rhodri Thomas, i gyflwyno sgwrs i Sefydliad Siartredig y Peirianwyr Sifil. Fe wnaeth droi’r ddarlith, “A allwn ni beiriannu ein ffordd i ddyfodol cynaliadwy?”, a’i defnyddio i archwilio’r tensiynau rhwng beth sydd ei angen ar gymdeithas, beth mae’n meddwl y mae ei angen, cyfyngiadau amgylcheddol bodloni’r anghenion hyn, a sut mae’r diwydiant, gwyddoniaeth a thechnoleg yn ymateb. Tynnodd ar ei daith ddysgu ei hun, o fod yn fyfyriwr graddedig ac ymchwilydd mewn ecoleg systemau, i’w rôl bresennol yn helpu sefydliadau i wneud synnwyr o egwyddorion datblygu cynaliadwy yn eu cyd-destun penodol. Yn dilyn ei sgwrs, cynhaliwyd trafodaeth fyfyriol, lle wnaeth y gweithwyr peirianneg proffesiynol yn y gynulleidfa, atgofio’r ffordd y mae eu diwydiant wedi cymryd mantais ar gysyniadau ecolegol yn y degawdau diwethaf. Mae cwmnïau peirianneg sifil bellach yn amlddisgyblaethol, ac roedd gan nifer o aelodau’r gynulleidfa gefndir mewn gwyddorau bywyd. Er yr oedd pawb yn derbyn fod gan beirianwyr allu enfawr i ddyfeisio atebion cynaliadwy a defnyddio technoleg mewn cytgord â natur, y realiti yw, caiff cynllunio creadigrwydd ei rwystro’n bennaf gan ddeddfwriaeth a gorchmynion economaidd. Roedd pawb yn derbyn bod y diwydiant wedi newid, ac yn parhau i newid, ac, er gwaethaf yr heriau, mae’n cynnig rhai enghreifftiau ardderchog o gynaliadwyedd ymarferol. Nid oes lle i fod yn hunanfodlon fodd bynnag, a gall cwmnïau peirianneg sifil ddysgu oddi wrth gwmnïau corfforaethol mawr eraill, a dylent gymryd mantais ar y cyfleoedd rhwydweithio a gynigir gan y bartneriaeth newydd rhwng Cynnal Cymru a Sefydliad y Peirianwyr Sifil, a ymunodd yn ddiweddar â Cynnal Cymru fel aelod corfforaethol.

Mae Rhodri wedi’i addysgu i lefel Meistr mewn Rheoli Amgylcheddol ac mae wedi gweithio i Asiantaeth yr Amgylchedd a’r Fforwm ar gyfer y Dyfodol, ymhlith eraill. Mae ganddo Dystysgrif Addysg i Raddedigion mewn Addysg a Hyfforddiant i Oedolion. 

Mae Cynnal Cymru yn cynnig amrywiaeth i becynnau hyfforddi a phroffesiynol wedi’u teilwra, ar gyfer unigolion a sefydliadau. Os hoffech fwy o wybodaeth neu os hoffech drafod eich anghenion hyfforddi, cysylltwch â Rhodri Thomas, Rheolwr Hyfforddi, ar training@cynnalcymru.com neu ffoniwch 029 20 192021.[:]

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