Saving the planet is more than just a catchphrase, it’s absolutely essential to preserving human life. From halting climate change to cleaning up the world’s oceans, the list of tasks yet to be accomplished is long. But you may not realize the valuable role that chemistry plays in the fight to protect the Earth. As we celebrate Earth Day, here are just a few ways that chemistry is helping to keep the world as safe and healthy as possible.
Agriculture and Food Science
From pest control to improving crop yields to creating packaging that helps food last longer, chemistry is a vital part of ensuring that safe, high quality food makes it to your kitchen. Food chemists also work to improve nutritional value and create products that are safer for those who need special diets such as people with allergies or diabetes.
Soil and Plant Chemistry
Soil and plant chemists work to directly protect the Earth by conserving and managing plant growth. They regularly test the soil in communities to make sure it’s safe, and use chemical management methods to remediate any hazards they find.
You might never have thought much about the water coming out of your faucet, but chemistry is a key part of maintaining a safe water supply. City water is treated with a variety of chemicals to remove bacteria and other pathogens, ensuring that it is safe to drink.
Disease Control and Prevention
From high blood pressure to the novel coronavirus, disease is an ever-present threat to life on Earth. Chemists study diseases and work to develop vaccines and treatments for both new illnesses and those that have been present throughout history.
Pharmaceutical processing is another key component of this work, from powerful antivirals to fever and pain reducers. Whether your medication comes from a plant or is entirely synthetic, chemistry plays an important role in ensuring its safety, purity, and quality.
Pollution is a major problem in many cities, a byproduct of many of the tools of modern living. Environmental chemists regularly test the air and perform remediation techniques to reduce pollution and improve the quality of the air. This can have a real impact on the health and safety of humans, animals, and even plants living in polluted regions.
Fossil fuels are a known environmental hazard, and alternative fuels have become a key part of protecting Earth. From biofuels to solar panels, chemists are on the front lines of the alternative fuel movement, helping to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and bring down our carbon emissions.
From livestock to pets to wildlife, the biodiversity of the animal kingdom is critical to our own existence. From blood tests to dietary management to preserving habitats, chemistry is an essential part of animal science.
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