Christine Rosen is an Associate Professor in the Haas School of Business and an Associate Director of the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry. Her current research focuses on the history of three sets of issues that are very relevant to today’s struggles around protecting society from climate change and toxic chemicals: 1) the factors that made it difficult for people in 19th century America to recognize new forms of industrial air, water, or other waste or chemical emissions as a dangerous hazard against which Americans (and people globally) have the right to be protected; 2) the enormity of the practical technological, economic, social, and political obstacles and constraints that made it difficult for them to mitigate these hazards; 3) the skills and resources needed to mobilize communities to struggle for the public policies needed to institute solutions for these problems.
Her research emphasizes the positive leadership roles that progressive business leaders played in struggles over the regulation of industrial smoke and other forms of air pollution in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and in the mobilization of popular support for investing in modern municipal water and sewage treatment systems. She argues that this history provides an alternative way of understanding the role of business leaders than the modern asumption that corporate leaders are by definition the enemies of the environment.
She also conducts research on the practical and ethical challenges of ethical green design and reducing greenhouse gas emissions today.
In the News
The Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry will develop a new college course on the public ethics of green chemistry. The effort, funded by a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant, highlights the role of ethics in understanding why and how legal, market, business, political and societal systems can affect the chemical production system.