Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-22319
Publication type: Article in scientific journal
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: Redefining ecological engineering in the context of circular economy and sustainable development
Authors: Schönborn, Andreas
Junge, Ranka
et. al: No
DOI: 10.1007/s43615-021-00023-2
10.21256/zhaw-22319
Published in: Circular Economy and Sustainability
Issue Date: 2-Apr-2021
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Springer
ISSN: 2730-597X
2730-5988
Language: English
Subjects: Ecological engineering; Redefinition; Engineering design; Circular economy; Principles
Subject (DDC): 338.927: Environmental economics and sustainable development
620: Engineering
Abstract: In the past decades, the search for a more sustainable way of global development has increased in importance in international politics and economy. A driving force is the continuing degradation of the environment in many areas of the world, often caused or accelerated by population growth and climate change. Sustainable development is seen as key approach to mitigate these processes. It has been defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” But how can this ambitious goal be achieved in the light of numerous global challenges? Engineering is a very influential human practice and must be addressed in this context. Engineers are crucially involved in design and construction of our built environment and thus in shaping almost its entire development. However, when designing a solution for a given problem, effects caused outside of the system borders are often not considered. If this is combined with a narrowly confined linear problem-solving approach, it is inherently prone to create new environmental challenges. We postulate that the development of a new design paradigm for engineering must be part of the progress towards sustainable development. We think that this new paradigm needs to integrate a sound understanding of ecological principles, processes, and interdependencies as well as thorough system thinking. We call this ecology-inspired approach to engineering “ecological engineering” and redefine it as follows: Ecological Engineering integrates ecological principles, processes, and organisms with existing engineering practice to a holistic approach for problem-solving. In this paper, we explore the historical development of earlier definitions of Ecological Engineering in the light of their underlying value systems. Based on this analysis, we propose a new conceptual approach for Ecological Engineering and define seven principles that point the way towards a future label that can be conferred to Good Ecological Engineering Practice.
URI: https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/handle/11475/22319
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): CC BY 4.0: Attribution 4.0 International
Departement: Life Sciences and Facility Management
Organisational Unit: Institute of Natural Resource Sciences (IUNR)
Appears in collections:Publikationen Life Sciences und Facility Management

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