An increasing focus on sustainable development is one of the major changes in the practice of civil engineering since the 1989 report. Sustainable development has become generally recognized as an important consideration in civil engineering practice (see Sidebar 1.1). ASCE, in Policy Statement 418, states that “the demand on natural resources is fast exceeding supply in the developed and developing world. Environmental, economic, social and technological development must be seen as interdependent and complementary concepts, where economic competitiveness and ecological sustainability are complementary aspects of the common goal of improving the quality of life.” (ASCE, 2004a). In short, the civil and environmental engineering profession in the twenty-first century faces a new imperative that can no longer be ignored: the incorporation of social issues in addition to the environmental and economic dimensions when developing engineering solutions to societal needs. The simultaneous optimization of these three objectives has been called the triple bottom line of sustainable development.
Research in the discipline of geoengineering has already begun to broaden from its traditional emphasis on the highly focused science of the specifics of soil and rock mechanics in response to this new imperative of sustainable development. Now we are concerned with the life cycles of the materials we use, the long-term environmental effects of our choice of energy supply, and the availability of potable water. Importantly, these issues are considered not just at local or regional scales but at global scales. As noted at the National Academy of Engineering symposium on ESE, Norman Neureiter, former science and technology adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State, said in his remarks titled “It’s the World, Stupid!” (NAE, 2002), “The problems we face—climate change, disaster mitigation, the spread of infectious diseases, safe drinking water, food security, the dramatic loss of species, protection of critical infrastructure, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction—do not stop at anyone’s border.” One important implication of this global focus is that we must be concerned not only with advanced technology but also with appropriate technology (e.g., identifying the most appropriate solid-waste management technologies for developing countries where construction of