Sparking Young Minds: Environmental Engineering for a Better Planet

Publish on March 1, 2024
Education Trends
Environmental Engineering for a Better Planet

Exploring the World of Environmental Engineering

In today’s world, ensuring a clean water supply, monitoring pollution, and safely disposing of hazardous waste have become paramount challenges. Enter environmental engineering! Environmental engineering takes on these critical issues with innovative solutions that protect and preserve our planet. Whether you’re passionate about ensuring everyone has access to clean water or creating practical ways to reduce pollution, sustainability engineering is the path to a better future.

Join us as we explore the profound significance of environmental engineering, unearth remarkable projects, navigate the career pathways of environmental engineers, and peer ahead into the exciting challenges that await this dynamic industry!

The Significance of Environmental Engineering

Clean water, a secure food source, and good sanitation are fundamental to human health and prosperity. Addressing these essential issues is the realm of environmental engineering. The systems we develop today will shape the world of tomorrow. Neglecting the care of our water, soil, and air may result in severe challenges for future generations.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental engineering is growing. The industry will see a 6% growth over the next ten years, with 3,400 jobs opening up each year. These statistics encourage those interested in sustainability engineering and creating a better world.

The Significance of Environmental Engineering

Guiding Your Child’s Interest in Environmental Engineering

If your child is interested in becoming an environmental engineer, you can guide them on the educational path they should pursue. Support your child’s curiosity and love for the environment as they explore educational routes that align with their interests. To help you discover a solid path to success, here are a few of our favorite guidance tips:

Start with a Strong Foundation

Encourage the child to excel in their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses throughout school. These subjects are fundamental to engineering.

High School Preparation

In high school, ensure they continue to perform well in science and math classes. Additionally, they should explore physics, chemistry, biology, and calculus courses if available.

Research Environmental Engineering

Help the child understand environmental engineering by exploring books, websites, and documentaries. Enroll them in STEM after-school programs or summer camps to deepen their interest and knowledge.

Choose the Right College Preparatory Courses

In high school, advising them to take college preparatory courses to prepare for engineering programs in college, such as physics, chemistry, biology, calculus, and advanced mathematics, will be valuable.

Select a College or University

Research colleges and universities that offer strong engineering programs, especially those with environmental engineering specializations. Encourage the child to apply to schools that align with their interests and goals.

Select a College or University

Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering

Once admitted to a college or university, they should pursue a bachelor’s degree in engineering. While some institutions offer specific environmental engineering programs, a general engineering degree also serves as a foundation.

Consider Internships

Encourage the child to seek internships or co-op opportunities during their undergraduate studies. These experiences provide hands-on exposure to environmental engineering practices.

Stay Informed and Engaged

Suggest that they join engineering clubs or organizations related to environmental issues. Staying informed about the latest developments in the field is crucial.

Passion and Dedication

Remind them that passion for the environment, dedication to solving environmental challenges, and continuous learning are key factors in becoming a successful environmental engineer.

Passion and Dedication

Real-World Environmental Engineering Projects

Engineering is not a new industry. Rather, for thousands of years, people have been designing and building infrastructure that help solve real-world problems, including:


The ancient Greeks found a way to bring water into cities and buildings through the aqueduct system. These long channels were often constructed from rock or concrete, and many remain to this day. Using gravity, these ancient people brought fresh water to populated areas through pipes, bridges, and tunnels. Some have been measured to be 57 miles long (92 kilometers).

Wastewater Treatment Plants

Getting fresh water into cities is a significant feat for engineers, and it’s equally important to manage wastewater effectively and keep it away from populations. Because there is a limited amount of water on the planet, finding a proper way to reuse water is crucial. Moreover, wastewater treatment also reduces the spread of disease and sickness among populations.

Hybrid Vehicles

Air quality has become a significant concern, with much attention directed toward vehicle emissions as a major contributing factor. Hybrid vehicles are the heroes in this story, designed to slash the CO2 emissions typically spewed into the air by gasoline-based vehicles. This keeps people on the move while creating a healthier environment.

These remarkable endeavors fall under the umbrella of civil and environmental engineering initiatives. But that’s not all! Energy and environmental engineering teams are also hard at work, chipping in to make our planet better. They’re behind ingenious projects like wind turbines, green certification programs for construction, and cutting-edge water systems that use ultraviolet radiation to disinfect water. It’s all part of the grand effort to create a more sustainable world.

Hybrid Vehicles

Science, Technology, and Innovation in Environmental Engineering

Advancing technologies have helped environmental engineers excel in their goal of creating a healthier environment. These tools include:

Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Using GIS, engineers can obtain key information on soil or water. These details are vital in helping environmental engineers understand the challenges they face and assist them in identifying the techniques and methods they need to use for the solutions they develop.


Environmental engineers must also use specialized software to analyze water, soil, and air samples. They must understand how to read reports and data produced by the software. When developing solutions for environmental challenges, engineers use Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software to create models that are studied for better approaches.

Lab Tools

Analyzing samples is often done in a lab, though some mobile sampling tools have been developed, too. Environmental engineers will need to be aware of how to use lab tools specific to getting samples in the field. Some engineers will also find it useful to understand how various lab equipment works, like test kits.

Online Tools and Platforms

Like all industries, online tools and platforms are available to environmental engineers. These platforms collect data from various parts of the world, which is key for engineers in the research phase. Some examples of online tools that engineers may use include the Global Forest Watch or Global Surface Water Explorer.

While not all environmental engineers will need to be fluent with these tools, they will still need to know about the scientific method and research techniques for their work.

Online Tools and Platforms

Education and Career Pathways

Those interested in a career in environmental engineering can begin with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Some programs allow students to focus on environmental engineering, but other engineering degrees also qualify you for a job as an environmental engineer.

Some universities in the United States that offer environmental engineering specialities include Standford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Texas at Austin, Virginia Tech, Duke University, Rice University, and Yale. In Canada, several universities offer excellent programs in environmental engineering, including the University of Toronto, McGill University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Alberta.

Environmental engineers also hold different roles at companies from various industries, including water treatment plant operators, land surveyors, environmental scientists, environment consultants, civil designers, hydrologists, and energy auditors.

Education and Career Pathways

Environmental Engineering for Kids

At Engineering For Kids (EFK), we believe in encouraging kids to develop their natural curiosity about the world around them through science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities. Our classes, camps, afterschool programs, and workshops equip kids with future-thinking knowledge that can lead to STEM careers – such as environmental engineering – while boosting their self-esteem, teamwork skills, and problem-solving skills.

You can also equip your children to make a difference for the planet by encouraging them to be involved in activities that strengthen their STEM skills, like the field trips offered by EFK. The experience and learning opportunities you give your kids today help create environmental solutions for the future.

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