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: Friday, August 22, 2014 <www.onlineethics.org/Topics/Enviro.aspx>

Related CEES Project Activities
  • Infrastructure and Climate Change Videos - CCEP

    These videos were developed by the Center for Engineering Ethics and Society at the National Academy of Engineering as part of a Phase I Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP). They are intended to serve as a starting point for discussion and enable educators and others to inform engineers and the public of the numerous challenges posed by climate change.

  • 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.