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Linking Science and Technology to Society's Environmental Goals
scientific and engineering community. The committee should indicate that environmental research and development should be part of the normal activities of a business—as opposed to the current separation. Also, science and engineering schools should teach environmental ethics and more information about the social constraints on engineering and scientific activities so as to raise overall awareness of scientists and engineers in these matters.
Group II indicated that one of the current dilemmas that makes it difficult for the scientific and engineering community to respond to societal needs is that everything has high priority. Other issues that need to be addressed are the level to which the public is engaged in risk assessment and why the environmental effort at the federal level is separated into so many agencies, as opposed to a single institution.
Issues that Group II felt should be addressed were these:
Monitoring of biological, physical, and chemical changes
Development of a source of available, inexpensive, renewable, noncarbon energy, while keeping in mind that conservation is still the least expensive source of energy
Understanding of complex ecological, human, and other dynamic systems
Development of negentropic technologies for mixing and separating products
Such diverse subjects could be linked by a high-quality robust federal research and development system that focuses on the environment and is capable of coupling societal goals to science and technology.
Group III felt that the key issues were setting priorities and developing a knowledge and information base. Knowledge and information can be developed via a process that involves the broader scientific community, that adapts to new information, that takes action before damage occurs, and that takes into account the social context of environmental goals.
Some problems that need to be addressed include the following: