Arabic culture speaks of powerful magical beings who live inside bottles. Rub the bottle and the genie appears to grant any wish. It sounds far-fetched, but it's not. At Seventh Generation, we have a very real genie who lives inside every bottle we make and makes the magic pour out. We call him Scienceman, a.k.a. Martin Wolf.
Officially, Martin is our Director of Product Sustainability & Authenticity. But we always think of him as the heart and soul of everything we do because for over two decades he's made sure our stuff is safe for planets and other living things.
We're thinking of Martin today because he was just awarded a seat on the National Research Council Committee on Design and Evaluation of Safer Chemical Substitutions, the group trying to figure out how to identify legitimate nontoxic substitutes for the often ugly chemicals used today. Martin's appointment is a big deal for one simple reason: It's acknowledgment that he's one of the nation's top authorities on green chemistry, the art of making stuff that won't make us or the planet sick.
It's one heck of a feather in his cap but hardly the only one. For over forty years, Martin has been unraveling the mysteries of molecules and searching our planet's wilderness for chemicals that cause harm, and the scientific wilderness for those we can use without harm. He's served as both Chair and Vice Chair of the Sustainability Committee and Chair and Vice Chair of the Strategic Advisory Committee, of the American Cleaning Institute. He was instrumental in getting phosphates out of America's dishwasher detergents in 2010, and has been honored with the EPA's Environmental Merit Award. Yet in 21 years at Seventh Generation he's accomplished far more than even all that.
Scienceman has worked with our other chemists (who make our products work), to make our products work better for our planet. He's created and set standards to ensure the environmental and human health benefits of the often impressive chemical solutions in every Seventh Generation bottle and in doing so blazed a new path for the rest of the world to follow. It's hard, often frustrating work, but Martin makes it look easy. We've never seen him sweat.
Along the way, he's shown us all how chemicals work magically, and how they can misbehave. Believe me when we say we had no idea what we were getting into when we started. Martin did, and that's why we're still here. With infinite patience, he taught us about what happens when we spray toxic formulas at home and what goes down when they get loose in nature. We couldn't do what we do without Scienceman, and it's hardly an exaggeration to say his work is our bedrock and his compassion for the web of life is one of our greatest inspirations.
Yet when we think of Martin, we think of pretty feet. Because when we shot the pilot for the Big Green Lies TV show that never happened, Scienceman took off his shoes and had his toes pedicured hilariously pink on camera for a segment on indoor air pollution. That's Martin in a nutshell: anything for the cause. And every time we spritz a little Seventh Generation around our loved ones, we should all be very very grateful that he's made our cause his own.