Campus and Community

Forward-looking reflection on the environmental challenges

The Environmental Engineering seminar series (JeAmbi) brought together several experts who shared their knowledge and devised strategies.

NEEA organises JeAmbi annually and invites the Técnico community to participate in an active debate towards environmental preservation. The JeAmbi 2020 took place on 27th and 28th February, at Alameda campus.

The president of Instituto Superior Técnico, professor Rogério Colaço, the coordinator of IST Environment, professor Tiago Domingos, the Secretary of State for the Environment and Técnico alumna, Inês Costa, attended the opening session.

Professor Tiago Domingos shared some of the main actions of IST Environment, namely the increasingly relevant presence of environmental and sustainability issues in Técnico courses and in the research carried out at Técnico, and some positive changes of the curricular reform that is being carried out in the school. “There are very good prospects for those who are still taking environmental engineering course at Técnico, namely its reputation”, said the professor.

Professor Rogério Colaço highlighted the new challenges that are imposed in this area in the coming years and also “the environmental concerns of students who enter Técnico”. “Throughout your professional life, you will play an important role in humanity’s survival”, said the president of Técnico. “Technology and political measures will be the solution to environmental problems”. Professor Rogério Colaço praised NEEA for organising this event: “These activities complement the skills you are taught in classes and foster team spirit, the discussion of ideas, the pursuit of goals”.

The Secretary of State for the Environment, expressed “the honour and satisfaction of returning home”. “Words have weight. Words can inspire, as it happened to me. I was very much inspired by some Técnico professors, namely during my PhD”, said the Técnico alumna. Environmental Engineering course was not her first choice when she entered university. “However, studying at Técnico was the best decision I made”. The Secretary of State highlighted the benefits of the Environmental Engineering course: “the diversity of knowledge, the cross-cutting skills, the promotion of innovation and, in the end, being able to implement the results obtained”.

According to the Secretary of State “engineers must also change their view” regarding the new challenges. Inês Costa stressed: “I am sure that we [engineers] are part of the solution. We cannot continue to extract more, produce more, sell more. We must understand that this linear model can provide wealth for 5 years, but it takes away prosperity for the next two decades”. “The economy has to be designed in order to guarantee the basis for social well-being, within the limits of our planet,” she added.

The energy transition, the influence of the environment on health, the sustainable production and the circular economy were other topics addressed. “We try to bring different speakers every year to JeAmbi”, says Helena Alves, vice president of NEEA. “JeAmbi aims to make new projects known and to promote new perspectives on environmental issues”.