Celebration of Teaching Excellence at UBC – Susan Nesbit

Discover the techniques and practices of outstanding teachers at UBC

Dr. Susan Nesbit

Civil Engineering
CIVL 250: Engineering & Sustainable Development, Module 5, lesson 1 in this 100% online course

Material Resources & Productivity

flyer and iphone

1991 Radio Shack newspaper advertisement compared to a 2018 cell phone: This illustrates the equipment needed in 1991 to perform the functions of today’s cell phones. (Source: A. McAfee, TEDx Cambridge, 2018)

The good news is that, in larger measure, economic growth is beginning to decouple from per capita consumption because of the work of engineers, as implied by the above illustration.

Unfortunately, consumption of natural resources continues at a rate greater than the earth’s bio-capacity to replenish (recall tab 3 in lesson 2 of Module 1 for a discussion of bio-capacity) because of our global population growth. To address the complex sustainability problems of biodiversity loss and climate change, we need to tackle the challenge of dematerialization.

The previous Tab offered actions that can be taken by governments, businesses, and individuals to reverse the overall consumption of natural resources.

But, where do engineers fit into further contributing to a sustainable supply chain? The remaining lessons in Module 5 will help you answer this question!

Why did you choose this slide?

It strives to be simple, short, playful, graphically engaging, empowering, and positive.

What are you aiming to convey with it?

Dematerialization is possible, and engineers have a critical role to play in sustainable consumption and production patterns (i.e. UN SDG 9).

How do you think it contributes to student learning?

The aim is to inspire students to continue with this week’s lesson. More broadly, the aim is to help students connect contextual issues (like SDG 9) to their design decisions.

View Dr. Susan Nesbit’s one-minute presentation on their teaching practice.