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About the Program

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The Promise of Environmental Engineering

By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9.5 billion people. At the same time, climate change and increasing urbanization are putting pressure on the environment and existing infrastructure. Despite progress, pollution problems persist around the globe, and billions suffer from inadequate access to clean water, food, sanitation, and energy.

Environmental engineers support the well-being of people and the planet in areas where the two intersect. Over the decades the field has improved countless lives through innovative systems for delivering water, treating waste, and preventing and remediating pollution in air, water, and soil.

Recognizing that environmental engineers can play a crucial role in this century, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine published Environmental Engineering for the 21st Century: Addressing Grand Challenges in 2019. The report identifies five pressing challenges that environmental engineers are uniquely poised to help advance.

Learn More about the Report


Students Design the Future
We are excited to offer to you this online toolkit designed to help students research and develop their own solutions to the challenges presented in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Environmental Engineering for the 21st Century report. Through a series of lessons and project-based learning, students will explore five grand challenges that stem from a vision of a future world where humans and ecosystems thrive together. Students will use information from the report, which provides an excellent overview of both the challenges and the many solutions being considered.

Getting Started:

To get started with the program click the Learn More button below or go to the Educator page using the navigation at the top of the website.

Once there, please download the Educator Guide to learn what is in the program and the suggested ways to implement in your classroom. We have also included a Remote eLearning Supplement to help with implementation during the COVID-19 eLearning environment.

The entire report is found in the Resource section of the site which you can access through the navigation at the top of the website. There you can  ownload the full report or the sections required for each of the lessons outlined in the Educator Guide.

Remote eLearning

As many educators and families are navigating new teaching and learning environments during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have added a Remote eLearning Supplement to help educators implement the program remotely.

Learn More