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Doug Mulhall's book Our Molecular Future is the first non-fiction work to examine in depth how we might use nanotechnology to protect against natural disruptions such as hurricane, earthquake, and flood. His background in assessing natural risks came from years of co-designing, building and operating the first wastewater recycling and flood control facilities in Brazil and China that used integrated agriculture to meet international effluent standards. .
On the management side he co-founded 'O Instituto Ambiental' — the first Brazilian NGO devoted to wastewater recycling. He concurrently served as managing director of the Hamburg Environmental Institute, supervising international sustainability projects including the first environmental ranking of 'The Top 50' international chemical companies, as published by Manager magazine. Other work included pioneering development of Life Cycle Assessment methodologies.
On the media side he was co-founder and chief executive of the first international joint venture television network in Ukraine, also the first to broadcast western environmental programming in the former Soviet republics. Years earlier he co-produced documentary films such as the 'Nuclear Path', tracing a globalized uranium network from the mine to the bomb. The film won the Cambridge Forum award.
He was contributing author to the first environmental commerce book published by Financial Times, 'Green Business Opportunities', plus co-author of; the first book on hazardous products in Russia, the first European Commission guide to tropical wastewater recycling, the first sustainability study for the 2000 World Exposition in Hanover, and some of the first sustainable product guidelines. His articles on sustainability are published in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Korea, U.K. and USA.
His works accurately forecast directions for environmentalism in the
nineties. He is presently developing a framework for environmentalism in the
21st century while advising on environmental health software and wastewater
recycling. He is an honors graduate in Journalism.
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"While working with water technologies I grew acutely aware of how much energy and materials are spent transporting, treating, mixing, consuming and re-using water, plus the limiting effects on economic development. Most water technologies are primitive and inefficient. The most efficient among them, biogas digesters, are good at performing wastewater-related functions including eliminating pathogens, breaking down nutrients, reducing odor, precipitating solids and producing methane, but still a thousandfold less effective than if water technologies were designed at the molecular level.
"I realized that even the greenest technologies have a long way to go. Moreover, the conventional water infrastructure is too pervasive to convert quickly to sustainable technologies. It is only possible for human settlements to go green and get off centralized grids en masse once new technologies wean them from umbilical cords that transport clean water in and pollutants out. Nanotechnology has the greatest potential to achieve this.
"On a wider scale after witnessing 'green gridlock' worldwide first-hand, I saw that environmentalism might be transformed or submerged by nanotechnology depending on how we approach it. More dangerously it might throw a stick in the gears of nano research if the wrong political tack is taken. Looking around, I saw precious few NanoEcologists on the horizon, thus decided to take up the task."