A few days ago it was announced that almost 50% of the population in Mexico lives in conditions of poverty. This means that 53.3 million people do not have access to at least one of the following: a proper house, health system, food, water or education. The numbers are frightening and put my life and work into perspective. Under these circumstances, it is justifiable that the society question the money spent on science and technology. First hand I have seen the reluctance of an older generation to engage with society. We need to do more not only to answer the needs of the people but also we need to show them why what we do is important. Publishing in peer-reviewed journals and graduating students is not enough.
At this moment we are preparing an outreach project focused on rural and poor communities. I hope we can have the people and funding to carry it out. I am confident that this initiative will flourish one way or another.
Additionally, starting this September we will embark on a new area of research (at least for me): water treatment. In collaboration with Dr. Joaquin Barroso (Centro Conjunto de Investigación en Química Sustentable) we will look at nano-arquitecture to improve the efficiency and selectivity of carbon-based materials (graphene, calixarenes and pyrolytic carbon) in the elimination of arsenic in water, a serious problem in most of the north of Mexico.
With 50% of the population living in poverty the problems are for sure huge, but I guess we need to take action if we want to be part of the solution.
If you are interested, we have a webpage in facebook where we post science related news (in spanish):