An Environmental Quandary

Opposing anything outright can leave you with no option but to keep digging the hole you are in. The increasing number of green applications of nanotech will no doubt be providing food for thought for some of the opponents of nanotechnologies, while more pragmatic groups such as Greenpeace will perhaps be able to take a broader view.

A typical example is the use of molybdenum nano particles to convert waste products from palm oil into biodiesel and lubricants which provides somewhat of a quandary to the opponents of all things nano. Do we ignore the benefits and further entrench our position or perhaps should we take things on more of a case by case basis – but even so the lines between rampant capitalists exploiting the developing world and the creation of strong local owned economies are not so clear. Even allowing for the fact that clean teach is the latest bandwagon, and there are no shortage of people desperately scrambling to hitch their wagons, nanotech applications are inexorably creeping in the direction of being positive rather than negative, which doesn’t sell newspapers but might have made Rick Smalley smile.

Maybe the groups who once claimed that adding carbon nanotubes to car tyres to make them last for ever would put Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian and Chinese rubber tappers out of work are as disappointed about the the way the future is turning out as I am? Hey, I was expecting to be flying London around in an atomic powered Cadillac and taking holidays  on Mars by now.

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