It's time to get to work

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  • Chemical & Engineering News 115516th St., N.W.. Washington, U.C. 20036

    Editor: Albert F. Plant Managing Editor: Michael Heylin Assistant Managing Editors: David M. Kiefer, James H. Krieger, Donald J. Soisson Senior Editor: Earl V. Anderson (New York) Senior Associate Editor: Howard J. Sanders Staff Writer: Joseph Haggin Associate Editor: Ernest L. Carpenter Assistant Editors: P. Christopher Murray, Re-becca L. Rawls, Richard J. Seltzer Editoria' Assistant: Theresa L. Rome Editing Services: Joyce A. Richards (Head) Editorial Reference: Barbara A. Gallagher (Head) Graphics and Production: Bacil Guiley (Head). Leroy Corcoran (Manager). Norman W. Favin (Art Director). John V. Sinnett (Designer). Linda McKnight, Gerald Quinn (Artists). NEWS BUREAUS: New York: William F. Fall-well (Head). Chicago: Wrard Worthy (Head). Houston: Bruce F. Greek (Head). Washington: Fred H. Zerkel (Head), Lena C. Gibney, Janice R. Long (Assistant Editors) FOREIGN BUREAUS: London: Dermot A. O'Sullivan (Head). Tokyo: Michael K. McAbee (Head) ADVISORY BOARD: Alfred E. Brown, Marcia Coleman, Arthur W. Galston, Derek P. Gregory, James D. Idol. Jr.. Gerald D. Laubach, Paul F. Oreffice. Edward R. Thornton, Herbert L. Toor. M. Kent Wilson

    Published bv AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY

    Robert W. Cairns, Executive Director Division of Public Affairs and Communication

    Richard L. Kenyon, Director Arthur Poulos. Editorial Promotion

    EDITORIAL BOARD: Mary L. Good (Chair-man), Herman S. Bloch, Bryce Crawford, Jr., Robert W. Parry, B. R. Stanerson; President-Elect: William J. Bailey; Representative, Coun-cil Publications Committee: Arthur Fry; Past-President: Alan C. Nixon Copyright 1974, American Chemical Society

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    Editorial

    It's time to get to work Our close approach to the end of the year and its attendant celebra-tions will be greeted by many with concern, uneasiness, and other feel-ings totally at odds with the season.

    We have lately watched our unemployment rate rise drastically until now it is well over the 6% level. The cost of this unemployment to our country is very greatnot just because of the support costs of the un-employed but primarily because of the "productive" loss of these indi-viduals to our society. Congress now is putting the final touches on a proposed $5 billion program for the jobless to aid many of these indi-viduals. Although needed, this is, however, only a short-term solution. It will not allay the causes that lie behind unemployment and the many other problem areas that presently besiege us.

    Dr. Russell W. Peterson, chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, pinpointed some of these concerns for us very well. In his re-cent address before the American Chemical Society at the occasion of his receiving the ACS Parsons Award, he noted, "These are trying times. The faster we go and the more progress we make, the more ex-tensive the problems." In the general sense, Dr. Peterson pointed out that much of this comes about because "the world's exploding popula-tion and mounting expectations are outrunning her resources." Getting us out of this dilemma, he notes, "will require the efforts of many disci-plines, but none will be more important than the scientific disciplines. Dedicated to reason and the search for truth, equipped with a vast knowledge of living and nonliving materials and processes, experienced in problem definition and solution, comfortable in a changing environ-ment, effective in worldwide collaboration, understanding of long-range and global perspectives, scientists have more to offer the world today than ever before.

    " In past decades political issues dominated the world scene. But today's issues of excessive population growth; shortages of the basics of life such as food, water, energy, and shelter; threats to our health from malnutrition and pollution; and the unbalancing of our ecological life support systems lend themselves to attack by research and devel-opment.

    "The U.S. could probably make its greatest contribution to world sta-bility and to a more harmonious world community by developing and exporting technology that would help all countries take care of their own population, food, health, energy, and ecological needs."

    It is important that we don't just read these words. We need to con-sciously remember them and to act on them with whatever capabilities we have to apply to the task. Forget the too-common attitude that my small contribution won't really help. Even if I can't prove to you that it will, at least logic demands agreement with the concept that it can't possibly hurt, so do it anyway.

    I don't subscribe to the "now or never" philosophy, but we do add an increment of difficulty for each increment of time that we delay. If we had made pollution control a general attitude of operation 30, 40, or 50 years ago, our present problems in this area would be imminently solv-able. That's ancient history, of course, but let's make sure that history does not repeat itself for other areas any more than it already has. It's time for all of us to get to workproductively.

    Albert F. Plant

    C&EN EDITORIALS REPRESENT ONLY THE VIEWS OF THE AUTHOR AND AIM AT INITIATING INTELLIGENT DISCUSSION

    4 C&EN Dec. 16, 1974

    EditorialIt's time to get to work