ansari - Science and Engineering Ethics (2001) 7, 105-115...

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Science and Engineering Ethics (2001) 7 , 105-115 Science and Engineering Ethics, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2001 105 Keywords : engineering worldview, environmental education, cross-cultural studies, technothink ABSTRACT : Experience with a group of mechanical engineering seniors at the University of Colorado led to an informal experiment with engineering students in India. An attempt was made to qualitatively gauge the students’ ability to appreciate a worldview different from the standard engineering worldview—that of a mechanical universe. Qualitative differences between organic and mechanical systems were used as a point of discussion. Both groups were found to exhibit distinct thought and behavior patterns which provide important clues for sensitizing engineers to environmental issues in future educational initiatives. Cross-cultural and global dimensions of these initiatives are discussed. I. INTRODUCTION One of the wonders of human communication is the ability to capture in a word, so to speak, the consciousness of an age. The term “green” is one of these magical words. One can think of few symbols in literature, or even in folklore, that have had as much impact on the imagination and consciousness of entire societies around the world in recent times as this simple word. The word itself represents a rather wide and loosely defined spectrum of thought, attitudes, philosophy and practice, centered around the common theme of concern for and protection of the environment. Address for correspondence: Ali Ansari, Centre for Holistic Learning and Development, 22/A Sundaram Layout, Ramanathapuram, Coimbatore 641045, India; [email protected] (email). Paper received, 10 February 2000: revised, 1 August 1999: accepted, 10 July 2000. 1353-2452 © 2001 Opragen Publications, POB 54, Guildford GU1 2YF, UK. http://www.opragen.co.uk The Greening of Engineers: A Cross-Cultural Experience Ali Ansari, Centre for Holistic Learning and Development, India
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A. Ansari 106 Science and Engineering Ethics, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2001 As might be expected, this spectrum represents different shades of “green”. At the one end are the “deep ecologists” with a worldview that would be considered radical by many people—both in its analysis of environmental problems and the proposed solutions. This group calls for a fundamental reorientation of values, goals, priorities and life style to make human society blend in with Earth’s ecology. At the other end of the green spectrum are the growing numbers of people all over the world whose concern for the state of the environment has caused them to call technology into account—but only in this particular area. This shade of green consciousness and opinion would have technology manage its impact , without necessarily modifying its overall pattern of development. In the middle of this spectrum is a sizable body of thought associated with the
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ansari - Science and Engineering Ethics (2001) 7, 105-115...

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