How Sustainability Permeates the Work of an Engineer

April 11, 2023
To learn about careers in sustainable engineering, Machine Design picked at Iana Aranda’s resume and the roles she serves at ASME.

This is the third installment of a four-part video profile of Iana Aranda, senior program manager in the Engineering for Global Development sector at ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers). 

This segment highlights the work behind Engineering for Change, a non-profit, digital platform servicing more than 1 million engineers, scientists and technologists around the globe. Their mission is to advance technologies and solutions for improving social and environmental outcomes. 

Aranda, who cofounded Engineering for Change in 2009, explains how the platform works to expose engineers to critical issues across sectors (including water, sanitation, energy and health), to offer training through online programs and to support organizations with their sustainability goals. “For instance, we augment their workforce with our subject matter experts, our fellows, staff and partners,” she explained.

In one impact services project, Conservation X Labs, work focuses on preventing the sixth mass extinction. A mass extinction is a short period of geological time in which a high percentage of biodiversity dies out. The sixth mass extinction is driven by human activity, thanks to unsustainable use of land, energy and water consumption, and climate change.

Working with USAID, the Conservation X Labs project aims to address negative social and environmental impacts in artisanal small-scale mining in the Amazon region. 

“Artisanal miners are flying under the radar of regulatory agencies, often, trying to extract gold throughout the Amazon region,” Aranda said. “This requires using methods to extract gold that is incredibly detrimental to the environment, local and indigenous communities. And that includes using mercury to bind gold flecks, for example. This has demonstrated to be absolutely devastating to that region.”

Other Videos in This Series

Editor’s Note: Machine Design's Workers in Science and Engineering (WISE) hub compiles our coverage of gender representation issues affecting the engineering field, in addition to contributions from equity seeking groups and subject matter experts within various subdisciplines.

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