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Going Green to Save the World

We hear all the time these days, in the newspapers and on TV, about the terrible global problems like famine, drought, climate change, and disease epidemics. Sometimes, these problems seem so big that solving them appears hopeless. But there are many scientists—including the extraordinary women featured in this booklet—whose passion for discovery and compassion for our planet and its peoples, fuels their search for answers to these difficult issues. Here, these women share their wonderful stories of working in "Green Science," showing us how they bring their unique combination of enthusiasm for science and concern for others together to make the world a better place.

Research in Green Science looks for new ways to help people around the world, particularly in developing countries, lead more productive and sustainable lives. For example, Karin Jacobs is working to understand the unique bacteria that are needed to sustain the local plants around Cape Town in South Africa, while Nani Drame is using modern molecular biology techniques to help farmers in Africa grow more drought-resistant crops. Often working under difficult conditions, all of the motivated and inspiring women featured here have already made a difference and improved the lives of many people through their research. They are helping to reduce hunger by finding means of growing foods more efficiently while using fewer resources, they are improving local economies by turning native plants into products that can be sold, and they are finding natural sources for new medicines by testing plants for their therapeutic potential.

Their stories of difficulties and sacrifice, of success and adventure, are all real. Some have struggled through poverty; others have overcome discrimination or the challenges of raising a family while still doing top quality research. We hope that the passion and compassion that these women demonstrate in the way they live and work will inspire others to follow their lead, finding new ways to help the planet and all of its inhabitants.

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.
Commercial Editor, Science