Is "ethics" a forgotten word in the engineering community?
I just got back from a conference in Puerto Rico, and am somewhat flabbergasted by what I saw. Engineers, and some architects, seem to have become all too enamored with the large numbers on dollar signs, forgetting in the process the communities to which they serve. There was an example of how the Autoridad de Energia Electrica (AEE) was spewing sulfuric acid into the air, while denying it to concerned citizens as Rosa Hilda Ramos. Upon noticing breathing problems in her elderly mother, Mrs. Flores began a 20 year long fight against the public corporation, eventually winning a $7 million settlement on behalf of the community of Cataño. (She actually lowered it from $50 million that the federal court wanted to initially impose.) This was done while its mayor Edwin Rivera Sierra, alias 'El Amolao," was busy wasting money on a gigantic and frivolous Columbus statue and drinking his 'palmolive' (local term for a Heinecken. You don't have to be a radical liberal--a 'commie'--to be well aware that dumping massive quantities of sulfuric acid into the air onto a community which has no other alternative is simply wrong. Yet numerous engineers working for the company must have been aware of the problem for a very long time, but did nothing about it. Wow. Hard to believe, but it actually occurred. Should we require ethics classes of all professionals?. It appears to be the case.