I’m personally really satisfied with how the event turned out and it doubtless marks a positive start for our Cohort as we embark on our upcoming second-year projects for the 2019-20 academic year. After the success of our Lunar Base escape-room style challenge at GUTS 2019, it was great to be able to maximise the impact our interactive exhibits could make, by bringing them to Pop-Up University.
My talk consisted of 2 sections: How does engineering have a fundamental impact on your life today, and how will engineering have a fundamental impact on your life tomorrow?
I handled the first section by asking the question ‘do we take engineering for granted?’. The SELA exhibition was partially based on moon colonisation, so I referred to it and added how challenges for colonising the moon (e.g providing air to breathe, water, food, warmth, etc.) are all basics for us here on Earth, particularly in the global north, all thanks to engineering. I went on to detail things that the audience had likely done that day such as turning on a lightbulb; accessing their phone/laptop; using any mode of transport; having breakfast or walking inside a building, and I outlined where engineering had been involved for each one. Through this exploration, I demonstrated how engineers shape our current world – and we’re so used to it, we take it for granted.
I went into depth on some of the different ways that engineers are tackling the climate crisis. These were:
- Carbon capture – technology that could potentially supplement the need for reforestation by extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and locking it inside carbonic compounds like calcium carbonate.
- An overhauling of energy production – stop producing energy by burning fossil fuels and transitioning to sustainable sources like nuclear and renewables.
- Restructuring and modifying our transport system – reducing our carbon footprint from transport by building more cycle infrastructure, bringing in electric cars and developing our transit networks.
- Cellular agriculture – eliminating greenhouse emissions from agriculture by scaling artificial foodstuffs such as meat and milk from genetically modified cellular cultures.
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