This annual lecture series was established in honor of Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering Professor Emeritus, Perry McCarty. The 2015 lecture features Michael Kavanaugh, Principal at Geosyntec Consultants, Inc., presenting Reflections on Sustainable Futures: The Trade-Off Challenge. Michael Kavanaugh is a principal environmental engineer based in California with more than 35 years of consulting experience in the areas of water quality, water treatment, and groundwater remediation. He was Chair of the National Research Council's Committee on Future Options for the Nation's Subsurface Remediation Efforts, and a member of the Committee on Incorporating Sustainability in the US EPA. He received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Stanford and holds MS and PhD degrees from UC Berkeley.

Abstract: Inevitably, development decisions confront a "trade-off" problem, best described by the second law of thermodynamics. For environmental professionals, who often have a lead role in development projects, the "trade-off" challenge has become more complex over the past 50 years. The lecture will reflect on the evolution of the sustainability paradigm in the US and the "trade-off" challenges and draw upon two recent National Research Council (NRC) reports that provide guidance on how sustainability concepts could be integrated into EPA decision-making. The need for a pragmatic, science-based, adaptive management approach to balance the economic, environmental, and social factors of the sustainability paradigm will also be discussed.