In the recent Reith Lectures, engineer Lord Broers at times focussed on how engineering has and can contribute to our survival. He culminated with a phrase that should be in all our minds.
Talking about assessing risks, he said: 'What we engineers have to do is to be seen to have codes of acceptable behaviour and to be living up to those standards, ' adding that 'the responsibilities on the shoulders of engineers are huge'.
He rehearsed and added his perception to most of the big technological questions affecting modern life - sources of energy, transport pollution and accident records, nanotechnology, globalisation - and ended by saying that the environment should be our major preoccupation this century.
Over my engineering career I have come to similar conclusions, but I have felt for a long time that our Institution does not take the lead it should in these large questions. To my mind, as a professional institution, it should be encouraging engineers to take the long view of sustainability of the planet in all their decisions and works.
Vic Warren, (M), Court Bleddyn Farm, Folly Lane, Pontypool, Torfaen NP4 8TS