A shared future: Chemistry's engagement is essential for resilience of people and planet

Goverdhan Mehta, Sarah E. Cornell, Alain Krief, Henning Hopf, Stephen A. Matlin

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    Strengthening resilience - elasticity or adaptive capacity - is essential in responding to the wide range of natural hazards and anthropogenic changes humanity faces. Chemistry's roles in resilience are explored for the first time, with its technical capacities set in the wider contexts of cross-disciplinary working and the intersecting worlds of science, society and policy. The roles are framed by chemistry's contributions to the sustainability of people and planet, examined via the human security framework's four material aspects of food, health, economic and environmental security. As the science of transformation of matter, chemistry is deeply involved in these material aspects and in their interfacing with human security's three societal and governance aspects of personal, community and political security. Ultimately, strengthening resilience requires making choices about the present use of resources as a hedge against future hazards and adverse events, with these choices being co-determined by technical capacities and social and political will. It is argued that, to intensify its contributions to resilience, chemistry needs to take action along at least three major lines: (i) taking an integrative approach to the field of chemistry and resilience'; (ii) rethinking how the chemical industry operates; and (iii) engaging more with society and policy-makers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number212004
    JournalRoyal Society Open Science
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


    • adaptive capacity
    • Chemistry
    • human security
    • sustainability
    • vulnerability


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