Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Green science & Technology for a sustainable world

Green Science & technology are key to ensuring Africa’s long term economic growth and to do this in a way which minimises damage to the environment. Science, technology and innovation will play pivotal roles in ensuring that our next generation of chemicals, energy and manufactured goods are made in a more sustainable way than is currently the case. Certain critical advantages will enable Africa to capitalise on new and sustainable manufacturing technologies include: valuable energy source
A wealth of
local expertise in natural product chemistry
Talented young scientists
A large and motivated workforce, which is enthusiastic about education.
these advantages and to develop world-leading technologies based on the principles of green manufacturing. Making value-added products in Africa, where possible, rather than exporting the raw materials, will contribute to the economic growth of the continent. Wealth Not Wealth not Waste: Green science and engineering for sustainable growth in Africa report discusses how science and engineering are fundamental to meeting these needs in a sustainable way. The principles of Green Chemistry and sustainable manufacturing are discussed and shown to be crucial if Africa is to enjoy economic growth by using, and at the same time preserving, its unique resources and biological diversity.Key Recommendations decade driven by export-led industries. The future growth of Africa’s industries will only be sustained through the application of green science and technology.: water, food, medicines, energy, manufactured goods and transport, must be made and delivered in ways which do not damage the environment, enabling the creation of wealth for future generations to enjoy.and developing industries.valuable expertise in the chemistry of natural products, and innovation in these technologies presents a tremendous opportunity for Africa.food, health and personal care products derived from natural products, and much interest in plant-based pharmaceuticals. African industries have a competitive advantage in these areas because of the wealth of available plant resources and local expertise. The manufacture of natural products requires solvents to extract the active ingredients from plant material. Conventional processes use solvents that contribute to the production of toxic waste and the cost of their disposal is a significant proportion of the manufacturing cost. and set of circumstances. , the wealth and the size of the population of each country. There needs to be a focus on recycling to preserve resources, for instance, by increasing the use of compost from agricultural waste to improve soil fertility.of talented individuals going into science and engineering. The scientists they train need to participate in international networks to allow optimal utilisation of equipment and to enable people with different skills and capabilities to work together. Collaboration between academia and business is the key to driving innovation and unlocking the potential of green manufacturing. 1. Africa has enjoyed robust economic growth over the past
2. Africa has an abundance of sustainable natural resources which can be used as raw materials in new
3. The use of solvents with a relatively low environmental impact, such as water, ethanol and carbon dioxide, is essential in the sustainable manufacture of plant-based products.
4. A focus on recycling will benefit all Africans. There is no single best method of waste management. This will be different for each country
5. For Africa to meet these challenges it must tap into local expertise, expand the skills base through education and develop effective networks.
6. African leaders must have the vision to capitalise on innovation in green science and technology and to learn from the past mistakes of the economically developed world. Policies should be developed and implemented across government to ensure the adoption of the principles of green science and technology. Strong, enlightened governance is vital if the people of Africa are to benefit from export-led growth whilst dealing with the challenges of a growing population and the need to improve the standard of living.
It is vital that there is a trained cadre of scientists ready to develop and apply green science and technology across Africa. Schools and universities must be able to increase the supply
The type and amount of waste produced depends on the consumer habits
There is growing demand for
Products based on the principles of green science and technology have a growing market worldwide, and the local manufacture of high value products from sustainably produced raw materials will contribute to the growing economy of the continent. African scientists have
Sustaining this growth is essential if African people and investors are to benefit. For this to be achieved over the long term, the basic requirements of society
is a report on the 1st Pan Africa Chemistry Network (PACN) Green Chemistry Congress, held on 15-17 November, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This

An abundance of sustainable natural resources which can be used as raw materials for new and growing industries
An abundance of sunlight as a
Chemical and manufacturing industries which are in their infancy and therefore have no legacy of non-sustainable manufacturing practices
Africa is well placed to capitalise on
The basic requirements of society include water, food, shelter, medicines, energy, chemicals, transport and manufactured goods.
The findings and recommendations in this report represent the views of the 190 scientists and practitioners that attended this conference from 11 different countries in Africa, as well as from Europe, the USA and Brazil, and from the delegates who participated in the discussion forum at the post-conference workshop held at the RSC in London on 7th March 2011.


Monday, 20 June 2011

Brass Toffs

Music is one of my passions.  I love brass bands and have played in them for years.  Here is a daft photo and a youtube clip from a recent event - the 2011 Whit Friday contest around Saddleworth moore.


Flying turds and JCB wheels

I mentioned our idyllic summers as kids at 3 Edderthorpe Lane in Darfield.  Well, after 11 great years there, with great neighbours and fantastic walks down by the River Dearne and in the local woods, a terrible thing happened. Mike and I gained a sister!  Because of this, we emigrated to the other side of Darfield! 

By now, our little sister, Rachel was on the scene, although she doesn’t feature in the stories.  Yet!  I don’t think dad ever settled in the new street, which was populated by people much posher than we were. I am sure he felt a bit inferior every morning as he free wheeled his motorbike to the bottom of the street (so as not to wake the posh neighbours) before kicking it into life as he went off for his early morning shift down t’ pit.

We lived next door to the village policeman – who was not a bad sort really.  In fact, later on in my adolescent years he did me a few favours by pretending not to notice me in the local pubs.  On the other side was man with company Morris Marina.  One evening having just got home from school I heard a terrible commotion and for the first time in my life heard my dad using language which he could only have learned down t’pit.  I did not get the full story until a bit later, but the gist of this violent exchange of ideas included flying shit, posting said item through letter boxes and finally, rubbing Morris man’s nose in it.  It transpired that Morris man had been walking some posh guests to their car – they must have been terribly important because they had a Granada - and found a dog turd on his drive!  He jumped to the conclusion that this turd had been deposited by our dog and promptly tried to impress Granada man by scooping it onto a shovel and slinging it over our garden fence.  This, just as my dad was walking up the drive.  Anyway, Morris man quickly learned that motor bike man did not take well to this kind of behaviour!  Suffice to say the final resting place for the shit was not on our drive!

There was one chap at the top of the street – let’s call him Roderick Stuart to avoid any chance of litigation!  He really was weird.  At least to 12 and 9 year old lads he was.  He had a son who we believed was kept shackled in a locked bedroom and only came out occasionally.  To Mike and I the really interesting thing about this guy was his comings and goings.  He had a Ford Granada and his house was bigger than almost anyone else’s on the street. We spent many a happy Saturday afternoon watching him going out in his car and coming back literally 7 or 8 minutes later.   He would often return with tires screeching, parking hastily and running into his house, accompanied by the hacking sound of his smoker’s cough brought on by a combination of excitement and exertion. This behaviour also extended into the small hours of the mornings which we found really interesting.  We pleaded with dad to following him on his motorbike to see what he was up to.  Sadly this never happened.  These comings and goings culminated one Saturday afternoon with Roderick’s car being absolutely caned up the street to be parked outside his house with steam pouring from beneath the bonnet and brown stains of expelled antifreeze all over the paintwork.  Shortly after this, Mrs Stuart appeared with a bucket and threw water over it to remove the stains - the car that is, not Roderick.  On closer inspection, we found that both front headlights and both rear light clusters were smashed! We really did (and still do) think that this was the strangest thing but never did get to the bottom of it. Literally days after that the Stuart family vanished and a For Sale sign appeared outside the house.

At the very top of the street was a millionaire.  This man had made his fortune in scaffolding.  He had a lovely Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, a Jenson Interceptor FF, a V12 Jag and numerous other cars.  This feast of expensive automotive equipment kept us drooling.  He was also the first person I ever saw to have a new fangled LED quartz watch, which also fascinated us.  We never had anything much to do with him until one day the 6 feet high fence outside his house was freshly painted with new white paint.  It looked immaculate.  Anyway, we decided it would look better if we threw mud at it, so spent the next 10 minutes doing just that.  Finally Joe (think I can get away with divulging his first name) came out.  We thought we were dead.  What did Joe do?  He engaged us in very pleasant conversation.  He showed us his new LED watch and even opened up his Rolls for us to sit in.  We never did throw mud at his fence again!

Shortly after that we found our way onto an area where they were building some new houses and decided to play with a JCB wheel which we found there.  We spend ages rolling it around.  Eventually, we got bored with this and decided to roll it further up the hill, above the houses.  This wheel was very heavy but 4 of us managed to push it up a mud path into the woods at the top of the hill.  Just before we got it to the top, someone slipped and we all relinquished our grip on the wheel, which set off rolling back down the path.  The last we saw of this wheel was it crashing through a garden fence.  A second after that there was a sickening sound of shattering plate glass as the wheel disappeared through the patio window of the unfortunate residents.