Hello, my dear readers! I hope you all are still enjoying your summer while you can! I am super happy to say that I had finally had the chance to go on my first boat tour after almost two years living in Newfoundland. My friends (Silvana, Stephanie, Arthur) and I had a wonderful time watching all the puffins (also known scientifically as “the cutest birds ever”) and hanging out with mom and baby humpbacks in the ocean. YES, A BABY WHALE! Even if I could combine words from all the different languages in the world, I still would not be able to describe how magical this moment was! I just felt and feel grateful for having this experience and for being where I am now. J

After my “Go, Willy!” moment, it was time for me to pack my bags and get on a plane for Golden, Colorado, USA! In case you are thinking at this moment “What in the world did you end up doing there, Juliana?” I advise you to pay attention to what is written after this colon: American Chemical Society (ACS) Summer School on Green Chemistry & Sustainable Energy! You may think the title is long, but the idea of this school is pretty straight forward: To bring together chemistry and chemical engineering students from all over the Americas to connect, learn, and discuss alternatives and ideas to make the world a better place. Seven full days in Colorado School of Mines, interacting with talented and like-minded scientists from different countries, discussing and learning something I am passionate about, eating delicious food, enjoying some nice weather (33 °C), and watching some beautiful landscapes! The ACS Summer School was also a big reality jolt and warned me about the necessity and importance of finding solutions for our current environmental problems soon.

(The wonderful participants of the 2019 ACS Summer School on Green Chemistry & Sustainable Energy! Extremely happy for being a part of the team and meeting these amazing human beings! Photo credit: Mary Kirchhoff)

The population is increasing as well as is our consumption, and our currently adopted social and economic systems are far from being changed in the scale and timeframe that our planet desperately needs. Our rushed lifestyles are also not helpful in favoring sustainability. We need to do so many things, talk to so many people, solve so many problems, that sometimes it’s better to approach the fastest and the easiest option, even when we know our choice is far from being the best to our environment. The time we have to deeply think and take care of ourselves is rare or almost non-existent; imagine having to consider the impacts of our actions on the world and to the people living on it? Uhhhh, tough, right? Being responsible for something and thinking outside the box is never easy. Some may even think chemists caused all of these problems and therefore fixing them is a work for the “science people.” However, it’s not because “we don’t produce plastic bags, just use them” or because “we won’t be here to see the consequences of our actions” that we should cross our arms and hope for the best. We are all guilty, and each one of us has an important role to play in order to transform the way we live. Small and simple actions in our everyday life, such as turning off the lights, using reusable bags, saving water, and avoiding the use of plastic bottles have a great impact and make a huge difference. Regardless of your work or involvement with science, we all need to think about our future and push ourselves further to make sure the next generations also have a chance of being magically stunned by watching baby whales in the ocean.

To each and every single one of the participants of the 2019 ACS Summer School on Green Chemistry & Engineering, to the organizers, Mary Kirchhoff, Stephanie Wahl, my supervisor Fran Kerton for supporting my application, all the amazing presenters and funding agencies of this terrific program, a big, genuine, honest, and sincere THANK YOU! The least I can do now is to try to change our current system to a more sustainable and green one using chemistry and sharing all the amazing things you taught me with others.

Looking forward to writing for you again!

Vejo vocês em breve,