Water fascinates—as is evident just from watching children splashing around in the sea or playing by a fountain. Biwa, a New York photography studio, also succumbs to this fascination, capturing in close-up the beauty and uniqueness of splashing water.
Water polarizes—and nobody knows that better than the people at Nestlé. On page 32 of the new issue of Evonik Magazine, Achim Drewes, head of Public Affairs at the Swiss conglomerate, discusses with Benjamin Adrion, founder of the organization Viva con Aqua, the question of who water belongs to. While their views often clash, the two also discover common ground—and express the desire to continue their dialog. This could open up opportunities for joint action by industry and society, opportunities also seen by Martin Keulertz, assistant professor at the American University in Beirut. In his provocatively titled essay “War over Water?” he puts forward the possibility of cooperation even between states that have so far been hostile toward one another (page 18).
Life without water is impossible—but the challenges differ from country to country. India must deal with massive problems of water shortage and water pollution. But solutions exist for improving the supply of clean water, and even for providing it where none previously existed (page 14). When it comes to solutions for handling water, the Netherlands leads the way: The country has learned from its own experience of storm surges and floods. The ideas it has developed on how to live with water range from the fascinating to the fantastic—and for just that reason often serve as models for other countries to adopt (page 36). Whether the projects of Manfred Wilhelm, Professor of Polymer Chemistry at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT, will ever be implemented on a large scale remains to be seen. Along with his students, Wilhelm is working on new models for using superabsorbents to desalinate sea water or remove heavy metals from waste water. What drives him on is his need to prove that the concept basically works (page 46).
In addition to the Evonik Magazine, which focuses mainly on important social issues, Evonik also publishes a research magazine titled Elements. Next year both of these will be combined into a single new company magazine, Elements, that will examine our research projects and their social relevance from various angles. For us research and society go hand in hand, because every development and every innovation always serves also to solve problems and to make life a little bit healthier, safer, and better.