Environment, Safety & Sustainability

This section contains materials that examine professional responsibilities for the safety and well being of the public as well as of workers. Over time, the section has broadened to include materials that examine the role of engineers in ensuring the health and safety of the environment, including issues of social justice and sustainable development.  Newer sections on "Climate Change, Engineered Systems and Society" and on "Energy Ethics" are in development.  

Materials range from essays and cases to codes of ethics and student investigations of problem situations.  In the “Other Resources” section you can find presentations and bibliographies about engineering and social justice, and referrals to other sources of information.


  • Cases

    (Resource Collection)

    Cases, scenarios and role plays, some with commentary, focusing on problems relating to the environment, sustainability, and safety. These cases are housed in our Case Database but are listed here for simplified topical searching.

  • Essays, Articles & Reports

    (Resource Collection)

    Essays, articles, and student projects concerning ethics relating to safety, sustainability, and environmental issues.

  • Climate Change, Engineered Systems and Society

    (Resource Collection)

    This is a collection of resources generated and gathered during the NSF Climate Change Educational Partnership (CCEP) Phase I award, It includes cases and a bibliography as well as teaching tools and general organizational information.  This is a work in progress so check back often for more resources.

  • Energy Ethics

    (Resource Collection)

    This is a collection of resources generated and gathered by the NSF supported Energy Ethics in Science and Engineering (EESE) Education partnership. It includes two bibliographies as well as teaching tools and general organizational information. This is a work in progress so check back often for more resources.

  • Sustainability

    (Resource Collection)

    This is a collection of resources on sustainability, many of which are currently being gathered through two ongoing partnerships with the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC) and the University of Minnesota.

  • Other Resources

    (Resource Collection)

    A variety of other resources related to safety, sustainability, and environmental ethics.

Cite this page: "Environment, Safety & Sustainability" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 7/28/2009 National Academy of Engineering Accessed: Thursday, April 24, 2014 <www.onlineethics.org/Topics/Enviro.aspx>

Related CEES Project Activities
  • Energy Ethics in Graduate Education and Public Policy: Enhancing the Conversation

    This workshop was intended for educators, policymakers, and representatives from professional societies. It was held on September 12-13, 2013 and featured presentations and discussions to spur participants to think beyond the technical aspects of energy. Participants explored the benefits and challenges of efforts to include energy ethics in graduate education as well as the role of public policy and professional society leadership in encouraging graduate education on energy ethics.

  • CCEP Capstone Workshop: Climate Change and America's Infrastructure: Engineering, Social, and Policy Challenges, Jan. 28-30, 2013

    In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the vulnerability of US infrastructure and communities to climate change is increasingly visible to policymakers, publics, engineers, and educators. This workshop convened national leaders in climate adaptation, city management, engineering systems, public engagement, and other key fields to work through the implications of climate change for US infrastructure.

  • 2012-2013 Ethics Video Challenge Winners

    The NAE’s Center for Engineering, Ethics, and Society held an Ethics Video Challenge in the fall of 2012 on the ethics of energy choices and energy research. Students across the country submitted 18 videos on topics ranging from fracking to wind farms, from nuclear waste disposal to smart grids, and from use of public transportation to the energy costs of the meat industry. A five person judging panel awarded prizes for Best Video and for Best in Theme areas. Congratulations to these three winning teams!

In the News...
Crumbling Infrastructure Has Real and Enduring Costs

This blog article by William A. Galston highlights some of the economic costs of failing to invest now in American infrastructure.

Smart Planet
This collection of articles by BBC Science and envicronment writer Gaia Vince explores the current limits of our planet and what people are doing about them.

How Engineers Can Help Prevent Water Wars

Turkey's Ilisu Dam project is the subject of much political controversy.  This article in PopSci suggests ways that engineers can help to limit the tension.