Overconsumption and Engineering Education: Confronting Endless Variety and Unlimited Quantity

E. J. Woodhouse
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY 12180, USA
E-mail: woodhouse@rpi.edu

Excessive consumption in affluent societies is the taproot of many environmental and social problems. Because engineers play crucial roles in design, production, and distribution of the goods and services that arguably add up to too much for too many, questions arise concerning how engineering educators might address the problem. Section I briefly summarizes some of the defining characteristics of overconsumption. Section II discusses engineers’ participation in the phenomenon. Section III considers barriers and prospects for bringing greater concern with the issue into engineering classrooms.


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