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Parks College Interim Dean Steven Buckner Joins with Other Deans in Support of Pope's Encyclical on the Environment and Human Ecology

August 18, 2015
Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Aviation Science, Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Parks College News, Physics, Research

popefrancisthumb300x260Pope Francis
Photo by Tânia Rêgo/ABr (Agência Brasil) via Wikimedia Commons

Engineers are by nature problem solvers. In his “Laudato Si’” encyclical, Pope Francis has called on “all humanity” to work together to combat the problem of what he directly calls “human-caused” climate change. Engineering deans from 22 Catholic colleges and universities announced that they have heard the Pope’s call to action.

Joining together with 21 others, Parks College Interim Dean Steven W. Buckner, Ph.D., has signed an op-ed, open letter in support of the Pope’s encyclical on the environment and human ecology. The letter was posted on the U.S. News & World Report’s website Wednesday, August 12.

“The encyclical presents us with a challenge and an opportunity as we consider the role of engineering education in an interdependent world,” the deans wrote.

While emphasizing Catholic institutions focus on educating proficient and ethical engineers with the skills to help solve problems around the world, and a recent emphasis on educating engineers to use their skills in service of others, the op-ed notes that the Pope has called on everyone to go beyond helping others to consider what he has coined our “integral ecology.”

stevebuckner300x260Steven Buckner, Ph.D.
Parks College Interim Dean

Through programs that stress sustainable engineering and sustainable energy and courses that require “whole system thinking,” progress to heed the pontiff’s call is being made at Catholic colleges and universities across the country. At SLU, the Center for Sustainability is working to create a more sustainable world through interdisciplinary education, research, and community engagement. It offers in-demand graduate degrees in SustainabilityUrban Planning and Development, GIScience, and Advanced Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Parks College researchers are concentrating their efforts on areas such as wind and solar power, green design, infrastructure design, as well as evaluation and restoration to answer the need for a more sustainable planet.

But the deans stress that while progress is being made, there is still much to be done.

“Until our understanding of this interdependent, interconnected world permeates our teaching and learning, we will not have reached our goal. And, it is a goal within reach,” the deans wrote. “At the root of Catholic social teaching is a commitment to the common good, which includes valuing the sacredness of all creation and promoting ever increasing knowledge, love for and commitment to a sustainable world where all will flourish. That’s a message that resonates with our students and one that we can and must do a better job of weaving throughout everything we do.”

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