Chemist 1, JM Ecotech Solutions Co.
General Luis, Philippines
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Organizations:JM Ecotech Solutions Co.
IYC Interests:Increase the public appreciation and understanding of chemistry
Encourage interest of young people in chemistry
Generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry
The world needs to change for the better. And even though I am only part of it, I am one with it. And for change to happen, it has to start from within my self. I have to make that change.
My name is Jo Albin Nery and I am a graduate student of the Institute of Chemistry of the University of the Philippines. Having been brought up in a conservative family, all I had known about the relationship between the environment and the society was mostly what my teachers in school and the anchors on TV would speak about. From reports and discussions ranging from flash floods to fish kills, I developed a negative sense of humanity being the harbinger of destruction instead of being the steward of nature it is meant to be. From then on, I wanted to know what causes these events to happen and how to prevent such things from happening. As I went through high school, I leaned towards the natural sciences hope of understanding these events and discovered that the society plays a role in bringing about these events that most people would blame God and government officials for. I still couldn’t find an answer to how to prevent such things from happening even as I entered the university and studied chemistry, which, I believed, could help me see what causes almost everything to the smallest level perceivable. I finished college still with that question in mind and, being persistent in pursuing the answer, I continued my study under the university’s graduate program. It was during this time when I gradually felt that I was becoming cynical, that as if all the knowledge I gained was useless and that as if I wouldn’t know the answer in this lifetime. I got bored of studying and, coupled with financial constraints and independent living, I took the job as chemist at JM Ecotech Solutions Co., a local hazardous waste transport and treatment facility amid unsolicited advice telling me that the industry is a vicious and harsh scene.
I never knew that a regular but demanding day job would be enough to satisfy my craving for an answer. It was my boss who actually gave me the straight but realistic solution to the problem of pollution in the environment and the society. I learned from her that it is a three-step process. I learned that to be able to solve an environmental problem, one has to first realize that there is a problem, that it exists and that it needs to be dealt with. Second, one has to accept responsibility for being, or at least accessory to, the cause of the problem. And lastly, one has to be willing to solve the problem, be open to all possibilities of remediation, and ensure that all aspects of the solution process be done properly. This cradle-to-grave philosophy may not be unfamiliar to people in the industrial sector, but it was an enlightening idea that made me realize that there really is a need for the society to be responsible for its own actions and be actually willing to do everything in reparation for such actions. What disheartens me is that not everybody agrees to the latter, and it is in this that I have decided upon myself that I will devote myself to the betterment of the environment in the personal level and in the industrial scale.
It is with the idea of being responsible for the betterment of the relationship between the industry and the environment that I would very much like to enter the academe again, not just to learn but also to share and to apply what I have experienced from the industrial world, and this is very much why I would like to participate in the upcoming International Year of Chemistry 2011. I believe that my eyes have been opened to a vision apart from the stricter quantitative viewpoint of the academic community and that I feel that I need to try and let others know and understand what I have seen, as it is all practical to the society as a whole. My experience will be very much enhanced with the learning and sharing the new year has to offer and, in turn, I will be changed to a person better than I am now, and that change, that challenge, that revolution I will take upon myself and see to it that will be the start of changing of the society for the better, one person at a time.