Highlighting the Human Aspect of Aviation Sustainability

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Dr. Elizabeth Irving
For many - including Dr. Elizabeth Irving, a professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science - collaborating with researchers in different disciplines means you are sometimes surprised by where life leads you.

“You don’t know what opportunity is going to pop up in front of you,” said Irving. “The reason I am so excited about WISA and think it can have such a tremendous impact is WISA's interdisciplinary approach. The aviation industry presents a vastly complicated set of problems. One person can’t solve this. Complicated problems need many people with different ideas and backgrounds working together to solve them and WISA is creating that exact environment.”

When the opportunity arose to join Dr. Suzanne Kearns in the new Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics (WISA), Irving, a highly accomplished vision researcher, was offered a seat at the table; specifically, to represent the social sustainability pillar - one of three that WISA was founded and built upon.

“My vision for the social sustainability pillar is to highlight the human aspects of aviation sustainability so that they become an integral part of overall sustainability with equal consideration to the environmental and economic issues facing the industry,” said Irving.

While there are many social issues challenging the aviation industry, the one Irving is focused on is the shortage of pilots as well as the quality of their training.

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