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In honor of this year’s Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW) theme, “Reducing Our Footprint with Chemistry,” I traveled to Midland, Michigan, to meet with Mary Draves, Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President of Environmental Health and Safety at Dow.
I could not wait to learn what Ms. Draves and her team did at work each and every day! She explained, “Our team protects the health and safety of all of Dow’s employees and makes sure we are positive environmental protectors. Our team also is responsible for setting the standard for sustainability at the company. We work to achieve ambitious goals that focus on global challenges like recycling and climate change.”
I told her I had learned how important it is to reduce our footprint. She was very excited to tell me more. She said, “My colleagues’ and my knowledge and expertise are the most important tools we have. Our team also uses a wide range of technologies, including robots and advanced computers, to improve safety and better understand the life cycle of products our customers use.”
So where is her work done? “Currently I do most of my work from home while we are all doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When I am at my workplace, I am primarily in an office setting, but I do go to our manufacturing plants and lots of different locations around the globe,” she told me. I then asked Ms. Draves what she enjoyed most about her work. “My role directly impacts major problems that the world has to solve. Dow’s products are making a tremendous difference in solving the challenges of plastic waste, climate change, and safer chemistry,” she said.
When she was growing up, Ms. Draves was very interested in science. She told me about the fun she had outdoors as a child. “We had a living laboratory in our backyard, as we spent a lot of time in nature and on our grandparents’ farm,” she said. “Along with my brothers, sisters, and cousins, we learned about agriculture, mechanics, biology, and chemistry.”
Ms. Draves added that children can come into contact with her work every day. She said, “Dow makes products that you use every day, including cell phones, sports equipment, and clothing. As we create new products that lessen the impact to our world, we all benefit.” I am so thankful for all the work Ms. Draves and her team does to help the environment, and look forward to visiting again!
Reducing Our Footprint with Chemistry
Activity – Shrink Your Footprint with Shrinky Dinks!
Listen Up! The Life Cycle of a Cell Phone
Taking a Bite out of Food Wastage
Activity – Find the Footprint of Your Favorite Snacks!
Insulation Keeps Us Warm
Activity – Be Cool.. with Insulation!
Meg A. Mole Interview with Mary Draves
Getting from Here to There