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On a Thursday evening in February we hosted a dialogue around climate action and sector responsibility. “Reimagining the role of the technical sector in the face of climate crisis” was a sell-out event, a nod to the passion and dedication of our community to ensure engineering is a profession that cares about social and environmental justice. 

We designed the agenda to be bold. We invited the panelists to become participants; CEO’s and students as peers. We broke classroom norms; 80 people gathered in a circle to share knowledge. And most importantly we invited people to be agents; to move beyond conversation and connect with their motivation to act.

“Yesterday I was proud to have an engineering degree… I saw a profession willing and able to be reflexive – asking what are we good at, what is our role here, and how do we step up to execute.” – Rachael West – Strategic Speaker Coach, Facilitator, Engineer

Club of Rome member and Breakthrough board member Ian Dunlop implored us to consider the starting point for climate change; we’re beyond tipping points and we need strong action quick. Alice Greenhill, sustainability manager at Yarra Valley Water, brought home the message to a personal level, “Everyone has a role they can play. There are so many ways to be an activist.”

Here are a couple of action-oriented takeaways from participants:

  • The power of small actions: Never underestimate the positive impact of small actions. We are always role models for those around us; friends, family, peers. 
  • Push client thinking: ask your client what they want to be designing for, go beyond the standards, and accepted “design life” – explore what a 50 year design might actually mean, and can realistically be expected.
  • Inform ourselves: educating ourselves so we feel more confident to engage in conversations around climate change will build our capacity to have a greater influence. Find your voice and use it!
  • Seek out collaborators: working with multi-disciplined groups and teams is critical to strengthen advocacy, to identify and share opportunities to create change.

Thanks to event partners Aurecon and Sustainable Living Festival.

Join us for upcoming conversations – coming to a capital city near you this July. For more information contact professionalskills@ewb.org.au.