How might our dreams of a synthetic utopia end?
By DAN CLOER via Science and Environment: It’s a Small World
Celebrating the establishment of the International Association of Chemical Societies as well as Marie Curie’s 1911 Nobel Prize, the United Nations has declared 2011 the International Year of Chemistry. The theme, “Chemistry: Our Life, Our Future,” may be significant in more ways than sloganeers intended: after a century of chemical tinkering, we wield the two-edged sword of our increasing knowledge ever more boldly. How might our dreams of a synthetic utopia end? The chemical signature of our activities, and in fact life on earth in general, has the capacity to be planet-changing. Our impact has simply been greatly accelerated over the past century. Does this matter? The real question is whether the gains are worth the costs. But we are only now beginning to understand the costs. “Everything must go somewhere,” Commoner noted, reminding us that the materials we create using our chemical know-how never disappear. By DAN CLOER (See Full Article ) Science and Environment: It’s a Small World.