“Greening” Chemistry: A Missing Affective Dimension

22 Sep 2011
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type

Professor Alastair Iles
Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Division of Society & Environment

Green chemistry includes the redesign of chemical molecules, processes, and products to be less toxic and more sustainable. Yet green chemistry has failed to make widespread inroads into the chemical industry over the past 20 years. While there are many reasons such as weak regulation and chemistry education that does not include toxicology, one surprising reason may be that the role of emotions has been marginalized even though the history and consumption of chemistry is replete with relationships of affect. I consider how emotions may play a role in shaping the responses of a range of actors to the presence of chemicals in their lives and how chemicals have come to be accepted as a marker of modernity. More recently, relationships of affect have helped propel new calls for toxic chemicals such as bis-phenol A to be phased out from products. By claiming that their concerns are legitimate inputs into greening chemistry, consumers and communities are increasingly asserting that they should be participants too. Finally, I review some possible ways in which thinking about the role of emotions could contribute to greening chemistry. This is a speculative talk meant to catalyze discussion and feedback

This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies

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