ISSMGE Bulletin: Volume 6, Issue 4

A Note from TC303 (Floods) Chairman
Professor Susumu Iai

vol6.1-4The Technical Committee 303 addresses the issues on “Coastal and River Disaster Mitigation and Rehabilitation”. As a chairman of this TC, I am pleased to write this short note addressed to ISSMGE members.

Global sustainability is the greatest long term challenge of our time. The breadth of disciplines that need to work together and the long duration over which action must be coordinated is unprecedented in the history of engineering. In geotechnical engineering and earthquake geotechnics in particular, we are unused to the challenge of working with other disciplines to address such problems, which have been far removed from our daily practice to date.

Apart from the geotechnical engineering and earthquake geotechnics, sustainability may be more clearly defined when we try to define the inverse concept of the sustainability: i.e. unsustainability. The TVs and newspapers reported a few years ago incidents of a parent(s) killing his or her own children and a child killing his or her own parent(s) in Japan. Self centered attitude for fulfilling his or her own needs, commonly found in human minds, may be the primary triggering mechanism to those abnormal incidents. Given that the common elements of human minds are the cause of these incidents, our future society might accept these incidents just as daily routine incidents. Ultimately, our future society will be heading into an unstable society that will eventually collapse.

United Nations Brundtland commission published Our Common Future in 1987, in which, “sustainable development” is defined as: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The next generations cannot express their strong opinions against the current generations because the next generations have not yet been born or fully grown up. If the current generation uses up all the natural environment and energy, there will be no sustainable society.

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