Orange County Branch Newsletter

November 2016

Secretary's Column

Holding Paramount the Safety, Health and Welfare of the Public

By Elizabeth Ruedas, EIT

“Climate change is the single greatest threat to a sustainable future but, at the same time, addressing the climate challenge presents a golden opportunity to promote prosperity, security and a brighter future for all.” - Ban Ki-Moon

Before the Flood, Leonardo DiCaprio's new climate change film, brings awareness to the vast number of issues caused by climate change, as well as to the solutions that are still an option. The documentary, by Fisher Stevens, not only highlights global efforts that are being pursued to mitigate the impacts of climate change, but also builds a grassroots movement to ensure that we become actively engaged at the local level as well. Click here to learn more about what you can do to help make a difference!



How do these calls to action coincide with your role as an ASCE Member? Not only is the overall theme of the film in line with our ASCE Vision, Mission, Strategic Initiatives, Code of Ethics, and Vision for Civil Engineering in 2025, but the solutions discussed in Before the Flood also embody many of our key objectives. For example, the film encourages its entire audience, not just the engineers, to "hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public" and to "strive to comply with the principles of sustainable development," which is essentially Cannon 1 of the ASCE Code of Ethics. Similarly, Leonardo DiCaprio quite literally serves as a proponent of many ASCE Policy Statements, especially the two included below. 


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports:

  • Government policies that encourage anticipation of and preparation for impacts of climate change on the built environment.
  • Revisions to engineering design standards, codes, regulations and associated laws that govern infrastructure potentially affected by climate change.
  • Research, development and demonstration to advance recommended civil engineering practices and standards to effectively address climate change impacts.
  • Cooperative research involving engineers with climate, weather, and life scientists to gain a better understanding of the magnitudes and consequences of future extremes.
  • Informing practicing engineers, project stakeholders, policy makers and decision makers about the uncertainty in projecting future climate and the reasons for the uncertainty.
  • Developing a new paradigm for engineering practice in a world in which climate is changing but the extent and time of local impacts cannot be projected with a high degree of certainty.
  • Identifying critical infrastructure that is most threatened by changing climate in a given region and informing decision makers and the public.



The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) defines sustainability as a set of economic, environmental and social conditions in which all of society has the capacity and opportunity to maintain and improve its quality of life indefinitely without degrading the quantity, quality or the availability of economic, environmental and social resources. Sustainable development is the application of these resources to enhance the safety, welfare, and quality of life for all of society.

Interested in joining the growing movement of people across the globe invested in keeping our communities safe from the impacts of climate change? If so, sign up now!

Register here and here to receive action alerts and start taking advantage of this "golden opportunity to promote prosperity, security and a brighter future for all!”


Visit our Sponsor