2022: The UN International Year Of Glass
In February at the Palace of Nations in Geneva, 30 world-class speakers highlighted the latest thinking on how Glass can aid the development of more just and sustainable societies alongside the most recent scientific and technical breakthroughs.
On 18th May 2021 the UN General Council approved a joint application by the International Commission on Glass (ICG), the Community of Glass Associations (CGA) and ICOM-Glass that 2022 be declared a United Nations International Year of Glass. The Year will celebrate the essential role glass has in Society.
What glass gives society
With its unparalleled versatility and technical capabilities, glass in its many guises has fostered innumerable cultural and scientific advancements:
- Glass is the main conduit for information in our knowledge-based society. Glass optical fibres have led to a global communications revolution; they are the backbone of the internet. Glassmakers have given us touch-sensitive covers for our mobile phones, revolutionizing the way we communicate.
- Glass is the chemically resistant container material for many of today’s life-saving medicines and is playing its part in the world’s quest to deliver a vaccine to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Strengthened glass containers have dramatically improved the reliability of the EpiPen treatment of life-threatening anaphylactic shock from severe allergic reactions.
- Bioglass compositions have advanced health care with their ability to: integrate with human bone; stimulate the human body’s natural defense to heal flesh wounds; aid tissue design and regeneration; and resolve hearing and dental issues.
- Glass sheets support solar cells and give clean energy; glass fibres reduce our carbon footprint by strengthening wind turbine blades, by insulating our homes and through carbon capture and sequestration (CCS); the vitrification of hazardous waste is making nuclear energy safer.
- The evolution of glass optics and optoelectronics mean that the James Webb space telescope can study the first moments after the big bang and expand understanding of the Universe.
- Glass melting is being de-carbonised and glassy products are being safely recycled.
- Archaeologists are learning more about ancient trade routes and the politics of raw materials.
- Glass artists across the globe have given humankind an awareness of this wonderful material including its remarkable methods of fabrication, inherent beauty, and ability to capture and display nature’s full spectrum of colour.
A book designed to whet the interest of an intelligent 18 year old was printed for the opening ceremony. Its 13 chapters were written by experts and explain how glassy artefacts are helping the UN achieve its 2030 humanitarian goals. To download a copy click here (150MB).
Next month there will be a few events taking place in the UK which celebrate glass. A full calendar of events can be seen by clicking here.