Contributed by David Constable, Director, ACS GCI
I think it’s been a very eventful month for green chemistry! EcoChem was held the 19th through the 21st in Basel, Switzerland. Billed as the largest green chemistry event of its kind, it certainly attracted many major names in green chemistry. EcoChem also had the largest exposition of companies and organizations in green chemistry and engineering that I have ever seen. Starting a little over a year ago the organizers were able to put together an amazing collection of speakers and companies. What makes this even more amazing is the fact that the organizers are marketers who readily admit they had no prior knowledge of the field. Despite that lack of knowledge, they proved to be great listeners and brought together an impressive list of advisers to guide them. Their efforts certainly paid off.
Dr. David Constable addresses an audience of green chemistry professionals, academicians and students at the International Workshop of Green Initiatives and Health in Delhi, India. This 2 day workshop was convened to bring green chemistry networks from around the globe together to talk about global challenges in sustainability and green chemistry implementation.
While it’s hard to predict where EcoChem will go in the future, the organizers have the ambition and they seem to have the financial backing to make this an even larger event in the future. Their desire is to grow EcoChem into a meeting where anyone doing business or promoting green chemistry feels a need to be present. They want to provide a forum where the business of green chemistry can be done. It certainly will be interesting to see where and how far this goes, but they certainly have had a great start.
I’ve also been in India for the past week. India is a truly amazing and diverse country that seems to be in constant motion. No matter what time of day, there was always a lot of activity on the streets; I know this because I arrived and left in the very early morning hours so witnessed it first-hand. All that motion is combined with a cacophony of horns as drivers of various modes of transportation jockey for position on the road. It is a constant kaleidoscope of sight, sound and smells.
All that motion is true of green chemistry and engineering in India, too; a dynamic and constantly moving state of affairs. I had the privilege of attending two different conferences there on green chemistry and engineering in less than a week. The first, the International Workshop on Green Initiatives in Energy, Environment, and Health held on the 2nd and 3rd of December in Delhi, brought together various green chemistry networks from around the world. Networks from England, Brazil, Korea, Mexico, India and the US were represented in person although had there not been some visa issues, others would have been present from South Africa. This was an intimate gathering, but powerful by virtue of what it represents, the growth and health of green chemistry beyond the developed world. Green chemistry is alive and well in many places, and it’s encouraging to see.
The third Industrial Green Chemistry World conference was held on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of December. This conference has been convened bi-annually since 2009 by the Green ChemisTree Foundation, founded by Newreka Geen Synth Technologies, Pvt. Ltd, and has steadily grown to become an impressive gathering. With nine separate dimensions, there is something for industry, academia, and government. From both conferences, it is clear to see that there are people in all sectors who are absolutely passionate about green chemistry and engineering. From the short time I have spent in India this year and two years ago, it is readily apparent that India faces a great many challenges. Green chemistry and engineering solutions to some of these challenges are very much needed in India as they are needed around the world. But what is equally apparent is that there is a small but dedicated group of people who are intensely committed to make a difference through the application of green chemistry and engineering principles in their work. And that, my friends, gives me great hope for the future of India’s chemical enterprise.
As always, do let me know what you think.
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