Science and engineering ‘can save the world’

Engineering the future: An electric car, nuclear fusion, artificial meat, and solar panels.

As a special science week starts, the world faces many environmental challenges. Scientists and engineers seem most likely to find the answers. But will they succeed?

What’s happening

The world’s population is now over seven billion. Some resources are becoming scarcer. The world faces the difficulty of producing enough food, preventing global warming, and protecting endangered animals and plants. New technology may give scientists and engineers the chance to find the answers.

Find out more

If engineers can build more efficient wind farms or solar panels, the world could use less fossil fuels, which are in limited supply in the ground. This would help to stop the climate crisis.

Catching carbon dioxide before it leaves power stations, and getting energy from solar panels in space, or from sewage plants, would also help.

Scientists want to use power stations’ exhaust fumes to grow algae plants – they use carbon, release oxygen, and can be used as fuel.

Electric cars – so we use less petrol – animal-free ‘meat’, and organic farming methods – to improve harvests – could also reduce pollution.

The biggest discovery could be fusion power – smashing atoms together to create new elements and provide a limitless supply of clean energy.

Some say…

Science and engineering will come up with the answers the planet needs. They have already given us new forms of energy and shown us new ways of using things we thought were useless. Scientists and engineers have so many great ideas – all that matters is spending time to study and develop them, and finding out which ones work.

Others think…

There are too many problems and they are too complicated. We are already unable to produce enough food for seven billion people, and the world’s population is growing. Global warming and climate change are happening already – new ideas will not stop them in time. And new technology and discoveries have caused many of the problems we already have.

You Decide

  1. Will science and engineering solve the world’s problems?

Activities

  1. You have £1m to spend on one idea in the article. Write a paragraph explaining which you would choose and why.

Some People Say...

“Science is our only hope of making the world better.”

What do you think?

Word Watch

Population
The number living somewhere.
Scarcer
Fewer or less.
Endangered
At risk of extinction (dying out completely).
Efficient
Making as much as possible for the least effort or cost.
Limited
The amount available is not without end.
Carbon dioxide
A gas which stops heat leaving Earth’s atmosphere, making it get warmer (global warming).
Elements
The items which are mixed together to make everything in the Universe.
Limitless
The amount available is without end.

Subjects

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