When we think about the huge increase in life expectancy in the last 200 years, usually we give the most credit to medicine. But only a relatively small percentage of this increase can be attributed to medicine, while engineering is responsible for most of it.
Sanitation is a good part of it: sewerage and drainage, water treatment, air filtering… Improvements in the safety features of buildings, bridges, roads. Safer transportation methods, like railroads, automobiles, and planes. Monitoring and predicting natural disasters. New agricultural techniques. Massive production of energy.
And even when it comes to medicine, many advances in the medical sciences are the result of the application of technologies developed by engineering, like computers, statistical analysis, and new materials. And laser, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound…
So, next time you flush your toilete, pay a little respect to all the engineers that made possible for people to live longer, healthier lives.