The world’s first motorised truck was sold by inventor Gottlieb Daimler to London’s British Motor Syndicate 125 years ago this year. Since then, four generations have benefited from this technology to travel and transport goods. Proof, if any is needed, of the impact that engineering has on global development.

It is no coincidence that this same truck manufacturer has recently announced its plans to work with BP on developing a new transportation network for hydrogen fuel; an element that can be completely separated from the fossil fuel supply chain. More widely, last month’s COP26 saw the UK confirm a 2040 phase-out date for diesel engines for even the largest goods vehicles. An air of change is crossing the UK’s roads.

It strikes me that the last decade has seen a conscious awakening of the importance of protecting the environment we live in. And especially so among the younger generations, the generations that have been exposed to this key issue since their school years. What a great example of how elders can learn from the younger members of the Society.

With any new technology, there are early adopters who seize on every new development and there are also those who are a little more sceptical – albeit open-minded – who want to see the technology mature before making a move. My challenge to you all is to use your engineering skills and experience to convince others that the innovative gains being made in our industry are central to the health of the global environment.

As engineers, we are all problem-solvers. I struggle to think of a problem as significant as the long legacy of environmentally damaging behaviours and processes. As engineers, our ability to influence and impact the development of low- and zero-carbon forms of transportation is high. We should aim to push ourselves and others into the early adopter category, to get these solutions to the point where the average man and woman in the street understand positive change and are willing to contribute towards it. If this isn’t our key responsibility as professional engineers for the 21st century, I don’t know what is.

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