Dear IGS Members,
The term “sustainability” has become a key word in our daily life. Sustainable development is often described as enhancing quality of life and enables people to live in a healthy environment and improve social, economic and environmental conditions for present and future generations. Sustainability is about meeting our present needs without compromising the ability of our future generations to meet their own needs. As the former Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon put it, “Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all.”
Despite the increased popularity of the use of the term “sustainability”, the possibility that human societies will achieve environmental sustainability has been and continues to be questioned – in light of environmental degradation, climate change, over-consumption, population growth and societies’ pursuit of unlimited economic growth in a closed system.
The construction industry has been a bit slow in responding to the industry’s responsibility for sustainability. However, recent regulations in areas such as carbon emissions and waste are forcing industries to adopt responsible approaches for design and construction. Sustainable solutions are needed to deliver infrastructure that supports a desired quality of life for current and future generations while conserving resources and energy. The engineering response to this challenge relies significantly on innovative materials and design and construction technologies.
Geosynthetics engineering has made phenomenal advances during the last decade in areas of manufacturing as well as practical applications. As a result, geosynthetics have become essential and regular construction materials that can be used to facilitate construction, ensure better performance of the structures and reduce the long-term maintenance in routine civil engineering works. The creative use of geosynthetics in geo-engineering practice is expected to continuously expand as innovative materials and products are becoming available.
Geosynthetics are now being recognized as fundamentals to sustainable infrastructures development as they can satisfy sustainable development goals, such as economic development, social development and environmental protection. In order for us to take full advantage of this momentum, we, the members of IGS, must be more proactive in collaborating with relevant parties such as planners, developers, and even construction engineers to raise awareness of geosynthetics and to further discuss how geosynthetics can bring sustainability into the infrastructure developments for future generations. I am confident that these efforts not only add significant value to the IGS membership but also enable us to lead our society to the next level.
I believe that it is our duty as members of IGS to become active ambassadors of the society and geosynthetics industry by delivering our message to others – Geosynthetics and related technology can pave the way our paths forward by bringing sustainability into the construction industry. Your active participation can make difference!
Chungsik Yoo, Ph.D.
President – International Geosynthetics Society