WASHINGTON, April 19, 2012 — Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, Ph.D., president of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, issued the following statement in recognition of the 42nd annual Earth Day ––the celebration founded in 1970 by Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, Shakhashiri’s home state.
“Earth Day is not only a time to reflect on the magnificence of our planet, but to take actions that will contribute to solving the global challenges confronting us. ACS members are at the forefront of these efforts, working to ensure the availability of clean, safe drinking water and a healthy and abundant food supply; developing cleaner and greener approaches to manufacturing; developing alternate energy sources; creating the next generation of drugs and treatments to combat disease; and finding ways to mitigate the effects of global climate change.
“ACS members daily live our mission: Advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. The beauty and elegance of this mission is that it is not just focused on inhabitants, but on the very planet that makes life possible and worth living.
“Earth Day is a time for all of us — scientists and the public alike — to communicate and listen to one another in meaningful and respectful ways about the future of our planet and the science that will take us there. Now more than ever, we must engage in these conversations with our families, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Our priority must be the health of our precious Earth, and all of its inhabitants.
“We must take time on this Earth Day — and indeed every day — to share, explain, and explore the many vibrant ideas to improve the human condition. I have little doubt that we — as scientists and as citizens — can galvanize support for clear, fact-based solutions to our grand global challenges that will sustain our world, now and in the future.
“I strongly urge our young people to explore the many opportunities available in the field of science and chemistry in particular. Your talents, your innovations, your ideas are what will make the difference in all of our lives and help determine the destiny of Earth and its inhabitants.”