What do I want to do when I grow up
February 9, 2007 11:52 AM   Subscribe

When I grow up I want to be an environmental engineer. I want to work on projects that can provide potable water for people. I want to clean the polluted Mother Ganga [Ganges] who provides life giving water from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. Or the Nile, both blue and white, spilling fertility from her bunds on a regular cycle. I want to design products that use the least amount of energy and fuel, from recycled materials and are biodegradable. I want to seek alternative sources of energy, such as using biofuel to power cellphones. I want to design with maximum constraints. Call her mother earth, gaia, demeter, ceres or inanna, our planet is on the brink of no return. Or is it all just a matter of perspective?
posted by infini (21 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Or be a geologist, do all the above without having to suffer through the calculus!
posted by Big_B at 12:05 PM on February 9, 2007


A little bit more perspective
posted by MetaMonkey at 12:10 PM on February 9, 2007


Or perhaps you could participate in poetry slams, instead!
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:20 PM on February 9, 2007


My opinion is that with the number of people on the planet, and the level of industrialization and resource usage, we're to the point that the only way out is through.

In other words, our technology has gotten us into a mess that can only be solved by improving and applying new technology. Any other methods just aren't going to work.

Essentially, we need clean sources of power (solar, fusion), and advanced nanotechnology to clean up existing pollution and develop non-polluting manufacturing and farming.
posted by evilangela at 12:23 PM on February 9, 2007


Me? I just want to make a lot of money. Then I can buy a Hybrid car, $5 coffee drinks, and a $500 iPhone and sniff on Mefi about how little everyone else is doing to save the world.
posted by dsquid at 12:23 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sustainability and green technology seems to have captured the imagination of sillicon venture capitalists the same way the .com boom did. That can only be a good thing, I guess.
posted by delmoi at 12:29 PM on February 9, 2007


That can only be a good thing, I guess.

If you think that we live in a world without opportunity costs.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:41 PM on February 9, 2007


/eyeballs the trifecta of BusinessWeek links suspiciously
posted by Doofus Magoo at 1:19 PM on February 9, 2007


/eyeballs Doofus supiciously for not suspiciously eyeballing the five Beeb links
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:38 PM on February 9, 2007


Barefoot College

Barefoot, female and a solar engineer
posted by homunculus at 2:04 PM on February 9, 2007


In other words, our technology has gotten us into a mess that can only be solved by improving and applying new technology. Any other methods just aren't going to work.


I think you're right, but often it's just reapplying old tech in a new way--that hand-cranked radio, or people-powered water pumps, etc. A lot of what we see as new isn't really anyway--windmills and engines begat wind turbines and windfarms.
posted by amberglow at 2:20 PM on February 9, 2007


I remain confident that we can dig our way out of this hole.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:21 PM on February 9, 2007


digging will actually be a solution, once warming makes it too hot on the ground, and holes and caves were always used as natural fridges.
posted by amberglow at 2:24 PM on February 9, 2007


/eyeballs with suspicion anyone eyeballing anything suspiciously/
posted by infini at 2:58 PM on February 9, 2007


The Malthusians say:

Boulding's Three Theorems
These theorems are from the work of the eminent economist Kenneth Boulding (Boulding, 1971).

First Theorem: "The Dismal Theorem"
"If the only ultimate check on the growth of population is misery, then the population will grow until it is miserable enough to stop its growth."

Second Theorem: "The Utterly Dismal Theorem"
This theorem "states that any technical improvement can only relieve misery for a while, for so long as misery is the only check on population, the [technical] improvement will enable population to grow, and will soon enable more people to live in misery than before. The final result of technical] improvements, therefore, is to increase the equilibrium population which is to increase the total sum of human misery."

Third Theorem: "The moderately cheerful form of the Dismal Theorem" :
"Fortunately, it is not too difficult to restate the Dismal Theorem in' a moderately cheerful form, which states that if something else, other then misery and starvation, can be found which will keep a prosperous population in check, the population does not have to grow until it is miserable and starves, and it can be stably prosperous."

Boulding continues, "Until we know more, the Cheerful Theorem remains a question mark. Misery we know will do the trick. This is the only sure-fire automatic method of bringing population to an equilibrium'. Other things may do it."

posted by anthill at 3:54 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Or be a geologist, do all the above without having to suffer through the calculus!

Guess again. I have a geology degree, and took multiple semesters of calculus.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:47 PM on February 9, 2007


What if the whole world wide web went green?
posted by infini at 6:48 PM on February 9, 2007


This just proves that we're winning the War on Terra.

Wait, what?
posted by rob511 at 11:18 PM on February 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Big_B: Or be a geologist, do all the above without having to suffer through the calculus!"

Actually, now that I think of it, isn't a geologist a physical science? That means lots of physics, which means tons of math. I bet you actually have to go past calc into linear algebra and differential equations, if not further.

Biology is the science for you if you can't do or don't like math - at my college, you didn't even have to take calculus to get a degree in it (which I think is pretty lame.) Astronomy would be the other end of the spectrum, as astronomers have to take approximately eight times as much math as an actual mathematician.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:19 AM on February 10, 2007


Mitrovarr, monju_bosatsu

Heh. Well I guess I was lucky then, I have a degree in geology and I only took one semester of calc! I work with several env. engineers who took 4+ sems, thermo, physics out the wazoo, etc. Funny part is we all do the same work.

Not true in all cases above, I just like to poke the engineers whenever I can.
posted by Big_B at 9:00 AM on February 10, 2007


/eyeballs the trifecta of BusinessWeek links suspiciously

I don't find it suspicious at all, but I gave up after the first 3 links. I need a bit more direction. The Barefoot College stuff is interesting, but what is this? Open thread for "green" issues?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:03 AM on February 10, 2007


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