BCIT: School of Construction and the Environment

Submitted by Content on Thu, 2007/01/04 - 9:57am.
Historically, there has not been a strong connection between the constructors of the built environment and the stewards of the natural environment, other than a primarily consumer-supplier relationship. Gradually, this is changing. The Catt-Trax 2 — Making Global Connections: Antarctica to the Amazon adventure is a catalyst that will accelerate this change in thinking about the interconnected nature between the built environment and the natural environment.

Today, everything is truly connected. Actions that impact the natural environment affect both current and future generations of citizens, even if they take place in distant parts of the world.

Our BCIT students need to better understand the need for sustainable construction practices and principles of environmental stewardship. This includes not only students in Fish, Wildlife and Recreation programs. It extends across all programs to construction trades, architecture and engineering, forest and wood products, and mining and mineral exploration. Catt-Trax 2 — Making Global Connections will serve as a model of global awareness that will inform all programming at the school, not just those programs traditionally related to protection of the natural environment.

Our students are a mixture of future constructors of the built environment and future stewards of the natural environment. We need to embrace an interdisciplinary approach across all of our programs, in order to preserve both the built and natural environment for future generations. Catt-Trax2 will help us to achieve this goal.

We need to shift our thinking from "silos of practice" to recognizing the interconnectedness of the global village in which we live. This is an imperative — there really is no choice, if we are to preserve the quality of the air that we breathe, the water that we drink and the communities in which we live.

Our vision is for all programs in our school, construction trades, engineering, applied sciences and natural sciences, to embody the core principles of environmental stewardship and a sustainable environment. Without question, Catt-Trax 2 — Making Global Connections: Antarctica to the Amazon will raise the bar of environmental awareness for all programs at the BCIT School of Construction and the Environment.

John English
Dean, School of Construction and the Environment
British Columbia Institute of Technology