6.4 CONCLUSION

The report provides a vision for geological and geotechnical engineering in the new millennium and suggests societal needs that the discipline can help to address. It explores ways that geoengineering should change to achieve this vision. There is real potential for breakthroughs and there are exciting opportunities for geoengineers if they become involved in biotechnology, nanotechnology and advances information technology. New solutions to persistent traditional problems can be obtained with these new nontraditional technologies. Beyond solving old problems in new ways, geoengineers have the potential to engage outside of traditional roles in the larger-scale problems of Earth systems that challenge the future of life on Earth. Geoengineering is the field of engineering most closely aligned with issues of sustainability, and this field should take a leadership role in the primary challenge of our time. This vision requires our educational, research, and industrial institutions to embrace the art of interdisciplinary work. What we recommend here is well captured by Albert Einstein: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” We recommend new thinking to use emerging engineering science to solve the compelling societal needs we face. This venture will constitute a revitalization of geoengineering and thus represent the possibility for a great new age for geoengineering.



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