Everything is chemistry: Challenges for a sustainable future

Lluís Pascual

Abstract


Learning to transform matter – whether by cooking food or turning minerals into materials for making tools – has been key to the development of human societies. Everything we are and do is in some way chemistry. In the Age of Enlightenment, with the lucid impetus of Antoine Lavoisier and his wife Marie Anne Paulze, this ancient knowledge became a scientific discipline. Like a spark falling on a powder keg, it would ignite the great social transformations of the 20th century. New industries emerged that filled our lives with colourful materials, plastics, with almost infinite uses; developed new generations of medicines that killed off endemic diseases; and provided agricultural inputs – fertilisers and pesticides – that boosted food production on an unprecedented scale. Chemistry has undoubtedly improved our quality of life, but it has sometimes been misused, overshadowing the important role it has played and continues to play in the development of a world that must necessarily become more sustainable.



DOI: https://doi.org/10.7203/metode.15.29175

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