Dr. Paul Anastas receives the Heinz Award in the Environment for his broad vision for change that led to the creation of the "green chemistry" movement, which has greatly contributed to improving the health of our planet.
Dr. Anastas' breakthrough work in the laboratory has spurred economic incentives for reducing industrial waste around the world. His voluntary, non-regulatory approach that makes environmental improvements attractive to industry is addressing an issue of global proportion one molecule at a time and making significant contributions toward improving the health of our planet.
Following graduate work at Brandeis University, Dr. Anastas began to formulate a broad vision for change in the early 1990s while serving in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxic Substances at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Recognizing that wastes released into the environment represent an economic investment for manufacturers, he sought to redesign benign chemical processes and products at the molecular level, thereby eliminating potential wastes before they are ever produced. For industry, such changes bring about increased efficiency in processes, increased worker safety, decreased environmental pollution, and reduced costs associated with waste handling, disposal litigation and regulatory control. So began the "green chemistry" movement.
In order to help build momentum for his vision, Dr. Anastas convinced the EPA in 1996 to sponsor the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards, which have since become the only presidential-level award in the chemical sciences. It has inspired hundreds of companies, including Dow Agrosciences, Bayer Corporation and Pfizer, Inc., to embrace his "Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry," outlined in his book (co-authored with Dr. John Warner), Green Chemistry, Theory and Practice. From 1996 to 2004, the Challenge Awards have recognized technologies that have eliminated millions of pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents, saved millions of gallons of water, and eliminated millions of pounds of carbon dioxide that otherwise would have been released into the air.
In order to fund basic research in green chemistry, Dr. Anastas created an ongoing research and development collaboration between the EPA and the National Science Foundation. The Technology for Sustainable Environment Program has stimulated and funded tens of millions of dollars in fundamental research that advances the discovery, development and use of innovative technologies and approaches to avoid or minimize the generation of pollutants at the source.
In 1997, Dr. Anastas was the driving force behind the founding of the Green Chemistry Institute (GCI), an organization created to foster collaborations among government, industry and academia. GCI later merged with the American Chemical Society (ACS), fundamentally changing the environmental focus of the ACS from cleanup to prevention. Today, the institute has 25 international chapters and continues to grow in both size and influence.
For developing and championing a new process that decreases, even prevents, manufacturing waste...one that creates an economic stimulus within industry that will help propel this approach far into the future...Dr. Anastas' abiding legacy will be nothing less than a cleaner, greener and smarter world.
UPDATES SINCE RECEIVING THE HEINZ AWARD
May 2009 - President Obama nominates Paul Anastas to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Office of Research and Development. - Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
November 2007 - Anastas is named a AAAS Fellow in the Section on Chemistry for "promoting the design, discovery, development, and implementation of material and energy sources that are benign to human health and the environment and that advance sustainability." - American Association for the Advancement of Science
Speech11/14/2006 - Acceptance Speech
When I was fortunate enough to receive a phone call from Teresa Heinz all I could think of to say was thank you for putting me in such wonderful company. So to my fellow honorees and past honorees, I'm proud to be in this company.
If it's true that praise derives its value from its source, then there is no higher award than the Heinz Award. As an individual this is a tremendous honor, and I am extremely appreciative to the Heinz Family Foundation. But it is the invaluable recognition of the green chemistry community that I am apart of that is most important to me tonight because that community, that green chemistry community, recognizes that a sustainable world can only be achieved by taking the only two things that we have, material and energy, in this world and designing them so that they can't hurt human health, the environment, reproduction, don't cause cancer and that that's possible.
Right here in Pittsburgh are the leaders in green chemistry, and we are fortunate enough to have two of those leaders with us tonight, Professor Terry Collins, Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge award winner and internationally recognized researcher, teacher. And Professor Eric Beckman also a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge award winner. Right here in Pittsburgh is the leadership, and they inspire me. They inspire me in so many ways. But no one inspires me more on a daily basis than my new bride of 10 days, Julie Zimmerman. Since this is our honeymoon I'm going to, I'm worried that she's going to think this should be a regular occurrence on every anniversary.
John Heinz has inspired many people to follow in his footsteps. His footsteps took him to Yale in 1956, and it's taking me and Julie to the faculty of Yale to start the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering in January. When I said that there were only two things in the world, material and energy, I lied. The truth is that we also have spirit, creativity, innovation and that's why I'm the most optimistic person that we can achieve the goals of a sustainable world.
Thank you very much.