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Engineering, The Environment, And Sustainability Mind Expanding And Necessary

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Sustainability and the Environment

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.512.1 - 8.512.8



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Paper Authors

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Domenico Grasso

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Domenico Grasso Picker Engineering Program Smith College Northampton, MA 01062

We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil; all committed to our safety, to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work; and I will say the love, we give our fragile craft.

We cannot maintain it half fortunate, half miserable, half confident, half despairing, half slaves to ancient enemies of humanity, half free in a liberation of resources undreamed of until this day.

No craft, no crew, can travel safely, with such vast contradictions. On their resolution depends the survival of us all.

Adlai Stevenson 1965, delivered before the United Nations Economic and Social Council.


The earth is 4.5 billion years old. Life started on this planet about 3.5 billion years ago. Multi-celled organisms were active in the oceans about 500 million years ago. Since that time there have been 5 mass extinctions on the planet. Homo sapiens are thought to have first arrived on the earth about 500,000 years ago. Our wisdom, at least the wisdom that we think differentiates us from other primates such as chimpanzees can been attributed to only a 1.6% difference in our gene pools. Although 1.6% may not sound like a lot, it is enough to account for the Mona Lisa, the Brandenburg concertos, and the industrial revolution. There are few that would argue that human ingenuity has not improved our quality of life, including both its purely aesthetic and the more intimately pragmatic aspects. However, this 1.6% difference in gene pool can also be credited with

Grasso, D. (2003, June), Engineering, The Environment, And Sustainability Mind Expanding And Necessary Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12642

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