Engineer’s Guide to Encouraging Sustainability in Developing Countries

Posted by on April 28, 2021 in Stuff with 0 Comments

Though often forgot in the United States and other developed countries, our daily essential are not work, the internet, and a fancy meal for dinner. They are clean air, clean water, and raw food sources. In many parts of the world, these things can be extremely difficult to come by, but engineering practices from places like the U.S. can turn what seems impossible to many into easy-to-use processes for delivering clean air and water.

As constructions projects abroad continue to help these communities with their life essentials, the building practices are also being geared towards sustainability, in keeping with the old “teach a man to fish” adage that dates back to colonialism in the U.S., and much farther than that on a global scale. There are many initiatives and resources in place to help construction processes abroad be done in a sustainable manner, and here are some pointers to help encourage sustainable living when building in undeveloped countries.

Why?

The why is simple. Make structures that will last a long time, help the locals, and have minimal negative effects on the local environments. One thing that undeveloped countries generally avoid are deadly emissions and other things that cause harm to the planet due to industry and construction. In the U.S., many steps are being made (even legally) to ensure new structures are built with our local environments in mind, and taking these practices to places where the air is already much cleaner can help prevent negative side-effects from an otherwise positive activity that is creating things to help developing world communities.

What? 

No matter what is ultimately being build abroad, creating climate change resilient infrastructure is paramount, as global warming is going to continue for the foreseeable future. The means of combating it are certainly working but all of the efforts made are ultimately just to slow the train down, not bring it to a stop.

Engineers should try, at all costs, to use locally sourced, environmentally friendly materials when conducting builds in developing countries. That is why there has been a recent rise in sustainable 3D printed buildings. This is not only important for the “now,” but also allows for cheaper maintenance if anything would go wrong.

Avoiding fossil fuels is another important part of eco-friendly development, and another silver lining of undeveloped areas is that local sources of renewable energy have often not been utilized. Wind power and hydroelectric power can work in many places, and as long as the sun is shining, solar power is a viable option in most parts of the world.

As previously mentioned, the life essentials of clean air and water are the primary reasons for helping developing world communities, but some small additions can also greatly increase quality of life. Building structures that allow for things like public Wi-Fi and clean bathrooms should also be considered as “bonuses” to a given project.

How?

Following the leader isn’t always a good idea in innovative landscapes, but with a lot of global funding going towards sustainable types of engineering and professions, the pacemakers are quite well funded and well educated. Guidelines from gatherings like the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or the International Convention on Biological Diversity help engineers understand the connection between poverty and sustainability, and the importance of creating infrastructure that will last, as well as one that has minimal negative effects on the local environment.

International goals for keeping our planet alive are aplenty, and the more people who play ball, the better the world will be when we leave it. Sustainable practices are becoming cheaper, too, so building abroad with the locals and environment at the front of your mind is a true win-win situation.

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