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By Dr. Amy Cannon, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Beyond Benign
I was asked recently to compare the carbon footprint of a green chemist versus a traditionally trained one. While this is impossible to quantify, it is certainly true that green chemistry training and skills can prepare chemists to better reduce their own impacts. More importantly, it gives them the skills to design chemical products that inherently address climate change. This is the part that excites me most.
Chemistry is often referred to as the “central science.” If this is true, then chemistry must also be the central science of sustainability. It’s chemistry that has the tremendous power to design in and out physical properties. So if we are talking about properties such as global warming potential (GWP), only chemists — through innovative, smart chemical design — can design out this property, therefore creating products that have inherently less (or no!) GWP. No other science can do this. Consumer behavior cannot do this.
This is something only chemists can do.
Green Chemistry: The Science of Tomorrow
Refrigerants serve as a good example of the power of green chemistry to address climate change-related issues. Originally developed in the early 1900s, refrigerants are essential enabling chemical technologies. Over the years, they have evolved from flammable, explosive, or highly toxic gases to highly stable (and persistent) chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which do not have the ozone-depleting potential of their CFC predecessors but still have high inherent GWP.
In the past two decades, chemists have developed new classes of refrigerants that address GWP through molecular design, creating refrigerants that have minimal or no inherent GWP. One could argue that chemists created the problem in the first place by creating refrigerants that traded off one hazardous property for another. Regardless, chemists necessarily have a lead role in the solution. The power of chemistry is tremendous – that is, if done through green chemistry.
How do we get more chemists trained with green chemistry skills? Education, of course! The better we prepare students with green chemistry skills, the better they will be prepared to use the powerful tools of chemistry to address global challenges — in the ways that only chemistry can. So while we may not be able to quantify the carbon footprint of a chemist, we do know that chemistry is essential to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and create a thriving, habitable world for our future.
We have a lot of work to do — now is the time to get involved! Check out the resources below to find out how you can join us.
- Discover our list of favorite resources for educators, both K-12 and higher education
- Learn about and sign the Green Chemistry Commitment for higher education institutions
- Register to join us at our monthly virtual meetings, Green Chemistry Connections
- Get our Green Chemistry curricula for elementary school to higher education
September 20, 2022By Dr. Amy Cannon, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Beyond Benign I was asked recently to compare the carbon footprint of a green chemist versus a traditionally trained one. While [...]
Categories: Green Chemistry Education
Sustainable action begins with a conversation.
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN) are launching the Global Conversation on Sustainability (GCS), a project that aims to raise awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), implement sustainable practices around the world, and engage scientists in taking actions towards targeting and keeping track of the UN SDGs progress.
Beyond Benign is proud to partner with IUPAC and IYCN to spread awareness of the GCS project. The GCS project is an annual one-day umbrella event that coordinates global events from around the world that are focused on addressing our environmental challenges through sustainability.
We invite all of our Green Chemistry Commitment Signers to join in and host their own events on September 25th. All organizers can choose their own event format.
The GCS project aims to…
- implement a culture of sustainable practices among the scientific community;
- promote the engagement of scientists in taking actions for the benefit of our society and sustainability of our planet;
- showcase activities pursued locally that could be applied nationally or even internationally;
- and launch synergies across different countries for the implementation of sustainable practices.
For a list of resources on how to organize your own event, check out the GCS’ website, and keep an eye on the constantly updated list below to participate in the GCS event organized by our Green Chemistry community nearest you!
GCS Events by the Beyond Benign Team and our Green Chemistry Commitment Signers
Organizers: IUPAC and IYCN
Format: Panel Discussion with Dr. Amy Cannon (Co-Founder and Executive Director, Beyond Benign), Prof. Javier García-Martínez (President of IUPAC), Anna Becker (Specialist Policy & Communications at the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre), Jeffrey Whitford (Head of Sustainability, Social Business Innovation and Life Science Branding at MilliporeSigma) moderated by Dr. Juliana Vidal and Dr. João Borges.
Location: Virtual https://bit.ly/Sustain4All
Date: September 25, 2022
Time: 10:00 AM (ET)
Contact: Juliana Vidal, firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizers: Institute of Chemistry UNESP
Format: Panel Discussion
Location: Institute of Chemistry, UNESP
Date: September 23, 2022
Time: 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM (GMT -3)
Contact: Cintia Milagre, email@example.com
September 19, 2022Sustainable action begins with a conversation. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN) are launching the Global Conversation on Sustainability (GCS), [...]
In 2022, more than 400 million people worldwide present disabling hearing loss, and it is estimated that by 2050 over 900 million people will have deafness . Thousands of these citizens are students who are enrolled in high school and higher education programs in Brazil. Unfortunately, traditional Chemistry is not particularly inclusive and sustainable. In the context of the teaching Chemistry and Environmental Education, Green Chemistry must be worked on in an integrated, continuous, and permanent manner.
Carlos Alberto da Silva Júnior is an Assistant Professor at the Federal Institute of Paraíba, who believes that supporting Inclusive Green Chemistry should be a commitment we all make to society. In 2017, Carlos Alberto started his research in teaching Green Chemistry to deaf students.
In 2020, the project “Teaching Green Chemistry to Deaf Students: A Brazilian Case Study” was presented by Carlos Alberto in the Postgraduate Summer School on Green Chemistry (Venice, Italy), and received a Best Poster award. This pioneer inclusive method was developed and applied to facilitate the teaching and learning process of deaf students. The project was divided into four stages: (i) survey questions, (ii) case study, (iii) visual-educational activity, and (iv) experiments. Didactic resources were adapted to facilitate the access of hearing and deaf students in this important theme.
Anastas and others propose that a systems thinking approach is also required for a sustainable future . Results showed that the strategy used by Carlos Alberto resulted in a positive impact on the learning of students and a greater interest in the subjects of Green Chemistry. This case study is a good example to introduce all (hearing and deaf) students to the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry as well as important general chemistry concepts with a stimulating educational environment .
Currently, Carlos Alberto and his research group are developing virtual resources to help deaf students learning Green Chemistry (Figure 2). “Being an inclusive teacher during the pandemic was a great challenge because students haven’t had the same access to internet. Inclusion is more than a destination; it is a journey following by courage and love”, says Carlos Alberto. Most importantly, discovering new approaches to provide improved access in Green Chemistry for an effective cultural heritage and global social well-being should be a priority.
 World Health Organization (WHO), Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss, 2022.
 Anastas, P. T. Trends in Chemistry, 2019, 1, 145-148.
 Sheldon, R. A. Green Chem., 2017, 19, 18-43.
August 30, 2022
In 2022, more than 400 million people worldwide present disabling hearing loss, and it is estimated that by 2050 over 900 million people will have deafness . Thousands of these […]
Green Chemistry gains another recognition! The August Wilhelm von Hofmann Denkmünze Prize is an important award given by the German Chemical Society (GDCh) for special services in chemistry. This prize has a long tradition and it was founded in 1902 to honour chemists or scientists in general who have made a special and important contribution to the field.
120 years after the creation of the August Wilhelm von Hofmann prize, it is time for Dr. John Warner and Dr. Paul Anastas to be the special recipients of this commemorative medal. The award winners are honoured not only for the scientific and intellectual foundations of Green Chemistry, but as for the concrete implementations of the concept created.
The award ceremony will take place on September 1st during the 8th EuChemS Chemistry Congress in Lisbon, Portugal.
For more information about the award, Green Chemistry, as well as Dr. John Warner and Dr. Paul Anastas, check out the article published by the GDCh here.
“The field of Green Chemistry is indispensable today, and laid the foundation for sustainable chemical product development. In addition, the award winners were committed to the interdisciplinary integration of Green Chemistry at Universities and actively contributed to the realization in their area and in other locations worldwide. For this exemplary commitment to the services of chemistry, Anastas and Warner now receive the August Wilhelm von Hofmann commemorative medal of the GDCh.”
August 14, 2022
Green Chemistry gains another recognition! The August Wilhelm von Hofmann Denkmünze Prize is an important award given by the German Chemical Society (GDCh) for special services in chemistry. This prize […]
Through Green Chemistry Connections, a series of virtual gatherings of the green chemistry community, Beyond Benign aims to foster networking and resource sharing, to encourage and support the teaching of green chemistry, and to demonstrate the multitude of ways green chemistry can be implemented.
During the 2021-22 school year, Beyond Benign was proud to host its second year of Green Chemistry Connections, supported by Washington State Department of Ecology. Gathering the global green chemistry community in a bi-monthly virtual setting, Green Chemistry Connections webinars feature presentations centered around the GCC Student Learning Objectives — Green Chemistry theory, toxicology, laboratory skills, and application of Green Chemistry education — followed by small-group discussions with networking and resource sharing.
Each event includes up to four speakers — faculty, industry practitioners, and students — who are actively practicing Green Chemistry in their courses and/or laboratories. In alignment with our Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Respect initiatives, we spotlighted speakers from a variety of backgrounds, representing various types of universities from all around the world to demonstrate the multitude of ways green chemistry can be implemented. Of our 15 speakers, 40% were from the Black, Indiginous, People of Color (BIPOC) community, 80% were women, and 30% were women of color. We are thankful to our 15 speakers, listed below, who shared the work they’re doing at their institutions to further green chemistry education and practice.
The goal for the Green Chemistry Connection series is to foster networking and resource sharing to encourage and support the teaching of green chemistry. Throughout the series, we witnessed wonderful connections being made, with over 150 faculty, students and industry professionals attending and more than one-third attending two or more sessions. During the “BYOR – Bring your own resource” segment, 37 resources were shared among the community.
Ready to join the next event to connect with your peers? We’d love you to join us! We are kicking off the 2022-23 Series with a presentation by ChemForward on Sep 21, 2022. Register here for the series.
July 20, 2022Through Green Chemistry Connections, a series of virtual gatherings of the green chemistry community, Beyond Benign aims to foster networking and resource sharing, to encourage and support the teaching of [...]
Supporting the advancement of Black and Indigenous scientists is a critical part of creating the future of green chemistry and sustainable science. To work toward that goal, through support from the Lemelson Foundation, Beyond Benign recently teamed up with the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and Society for Science to host the Pathways to Sustainable Invention Speaker Series, a five-part webinar series designed to elevate the stories of inventors (including student inventors) from diverse backgrounds.
Through bimonthly webinars featuring a multi-generational panel of inventors sharing their experiences, the Pathways to Sustainable Invention series aimed to inspire youth to engage and invent for a sustainable future. Dr. T. Gregory Tucker, Ph.D., is a scientist, educator, entrepreneur and inventor who works at the University of Louisville. He helped design the event and was a panelist on the webinar topic, “Black Inventors Pathways to Patents.”
In this Q&A, Dr. Tucker shares some of his favorite takeaways from the series, and why he is so passionate about inspiring the scientists of tomorrow.
Why are green chemistry and sustainable invention so important right now?
In today’s world, science profoundly affects us all. Chemistry is important to understand, even for people without a technical or science background, because of the power we see it deliver in our everyday lives, through electronics, devices, even electric vehicles (EVs).
Many people associate chemistry with vague high school memories of the periodic table, but chemistry and science innovation are relevant to all of our daily lives and the future of our planet. In today’s world where more and more devices are being produced, used by customers, then discarded, it’s more important than ever to understand and demand sustainable sources and efficient recycling methods. That’s why we need to enable our next generation of scientists to explore and develop innovative methods.
How did you become interested in science?
Growing up I was always interested in being an applied scientist. I was inspired by learning about the work of other scientists—such as Nikola Tesla harnessing the power of alternating current electricity in my hometown, which led me to pursue research in electrochemical devices, or Lewis Latimer contributing to the invention of a new filament to improve the light bulb (fun fact: both scientists worked with Thomas Edison). More recently, I was inspired by meeting the inventor of the blue LED, Nobel Laureate Dr. Shuji Nakamura. His work is incredibly impactful as we use LEDs in nearly all flat screen displays today.
Why was the Pathways to Sustainable Invention series important?
There was a pandemic of racial inequality and lack of resources in certain communities well before the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID pandemic further compounded these issues to a critical point of social unrest. I considered this series a way to address this in my (our) own capacity as educators.
Through the series, we aimed to empower younger BIPOC by sharing the professional journeys, personal experiences, and unique techniques the panelists have used to achieve success as Black professionals, inventors, and entrepreneurs. Designed for a diverse audience of young people, the series highlighted a variety of topics on the cutting edge of technology, along with the possibilities and practical steps of starting a business. The virtual platform offered accessibility, inclusivity, and convenience, which enabled panelists from across the world to share their valuable messages, ideas, innovations, and sustainable projects.
What made you want to be involved?
As a scientist, I feel a call of duty to help cultivate the next generation of scientists. It’s becoming more apparent that a good number of jobs in the near future will involve some kind of fundamental chemical know-how — such as for battery packs replacing gasoline, polymers of various plastics substituting in for metals, and considering how potentially hazardous byproducts are affecting the air and environments of our local communities. These jobs and skills are critical for our world, as we collectively watch the acidification of the ocean and an increase in the greenhouse gasses causing global warming.
What were some of your favorite aspects of the series?
I truly appreciated — and I know the audience did, too — the perspectives offered through the multigenerational approach. Each session included three panelists, who ranged from early career such as high schoolers, mid-career such as recent college grads, and late career folks sharing their years of wisdom. For me personally, it was incredible to hear the forward-thinking and heartfelt stories from the youngest panelists about their research tackling some of the biggest global concerns. For example, one younger person shared their work on a digital app to ensure enough clean water. Behind the scenes, I enjoyed lending assistance to prepare some of our presenters to effectively convey their gifts in the virtual environment.
What advice or encouragement might you give to a young Black person interested in getting involved with STEM?
Well, a great starting point is to listen to the recording of the Pathways to Sustainable Invention series, which touches on a wide variety of topics — from tech apps to aerial drones, coding to cosmetics, solar energy to food science. Next, research the topics the panelists discussed that sparked your interest and get immersed immediately. Look up the companies where these people work and the organizations they’re members of, such as NOBCChE, Beyond Benign, and Society for Science. They all have chemistry-related programs you can join and start actively participating in right away.
July 20, 2022Supporting the advancement of Black and Indigenous scientists is a critical part of creating the future of green chemistry and sustainable science. To work toward that goal, through support from [...]
Dr. Andrea Ashley-Oyewole has seen the difference being part of a like-minded community can have for her career and her students. An Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) in Prairie View, Texas, Dr. Ashley-Oyewole helped drive her department’s signing of the Beyond Benign Green Chemistry Commitment (GCC).
The GCC provides a framework to unite the green chemistry higher education community around a common vision to expand the community of green chemists, grow departmental resources, improve connections to job opportunities, and affect systemic and lasting change in chemistry education. With support from Dow, Beyond Benign launched a GCC 25×25 initiative with a goal of ensuring that 25% of graduating U.S. chemists have a background in green chemistry by 2025. PVAMU recently signed onto the GCC, becoming the first HBCU (historically Black college and university) to do so.
Holding degrees in Chemistry and Environmental Toxicology, Dr. Ashley-Oyewole is the co-advisor to the PVAMU Chemistry Club and a Co-Chair for the Diversity, Equity, Belonging and Respect Subcommittee on Beyond Benign’s Green Chemistry Teaching and Learning Community (GCTLC) Leadership Committee. In this Q&A, Dr. Ashley-Oyewole shares what being a member of the Green Chemistry Commitment community has meant for her professionally, as well as what it has offered her students, her department and the University.
How did you first learn about the Green Chemistry Commitment?
PVAMU Chemistry heard about the GCC through an invitation to attend a meeting with Beyond Benign, Dow and the College of Engineering, which was held on our campus in the spring of 2020.
What was the process of becoming part of the GCC community like for you?
Signing on to the GCC was easy for us. We had permission from our department head to complete the necessary documents and then it was forwarded to the Dean for final signatures. It all happened in a day.
What has being part of the GCC community done for you as a faculty member?
As a scientist from an interdisciplinary background in a department filled with Ph.D. chemists, it has given me a voice and a way to show what I can offer to the academy. It has also allowed me to introduce my students to a subject that is of particular interest to me coming from an environmental science background.
Any specific outcomes you can share?
I’ve always envisioned creating an environmental chemistry course in my department, and the encouragement I’ve received from the GCC community has built my confidence to move forward with the project. I have found my feet and my voice, literally, and I am looking forward to bigger things because of the assistance from my colleagues in the GCC. I have experienced a genuine sense of belonging as a scientist that was not there before.
It’s also helped me connect with new colleagues and students across the globe. I’ve met students in Berlin who are doing great work to advance green chemistry in the University. I have talked with colleagues in Canada and multiple states across the U.S., and I hope to work on research projects in the future.
How has being part of the GCC community impacted your students and their ability to prepare for career competitiveness?
My students have been very receptive to our green chemistry infusion topics, and my first-year courses also received B-Global designation to help students become more active and informed global citizens.
Students are excited to see how chemistry is applied to solving everyday problems, to explore tangible examples of environmental issues and how chemistry can solve these problems. One example is the overproduction of fast fashion and the environmental problem with the disposal of that waste. That was obscure to students but after learning about it, they wanted to commit to recycling and reusing more products. Many were amazed by the carbon footprint of their daily lives and began thinking more about energy efficiency. Others began to understand sea level rise and greenhouse emissions as urgent problems to be solved. The end result is they are talking more about the issues and making connections to their chemistry coursework, as well. This will serve them in their future careers as they learn applications of science solving real global issues.
How has being part of the GCC helped your institution?
Our Department has benefited a great deal. This work has given us avenues to expand in research and supported our efforts toward effective and relevant teaching. Recruitment efforts for new majors and graduate student research enquiries are increasing.
The University has the distinction of being the first HBCU to sign on to the GCC and I am very proud of that. The Texas Defender regional newspaper published a story on that achievement.
Why do you think other institutions should join the GCC?
They would be giving their students access to priceless knowledge. They’re also joining a community of like-minded individuals with a passion for teaching, and preparing global citizens and future scientists with the necessary skills to understand and solve globally relevant issues that affect all people.
What advice would you give another faculty member about advocating for green chemistry on their campus?
Start small with what is already available. Every effort, no matter how small, is relevant. Don’t be afraid if you are the only one in the beginning. Also stay connected with the community by attending the monthly connections when possible, and reach out if you need help. The online community has a wealth of information and support is always just an email away.
Growing Community, Connections and Inspiration: A Q&A with Green Chemistry Commitment advocate Dr. Andrea Ashley-Oyewole
July 20, 2022Dr. Andrea Ashley-Oyewole has seen the difference being part of a like-minded community can have for her career and her students. An Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Prairie View A&M [...]
By Nimrat Obhi, Jonathon Moir, Amy Cannon & Natalie J. O’Neil
Upon returning from our first in-person conference since 2019, we were (understandably) exhausted. It was so exciting and energizing to see colleagues and friends whom we had either never met, or hadn’t had a chance to see in-person in a very long time. In fact, even our U.S. and Canadian Beyond Benign team members met for the first time in-person! We were all thrilled to be in the same place, at the same time – a rare opportunity to connect around a topic that we all hold dear to our hearts, green chemistry.
We have been going to the Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference for years (Amy in particular). It seemed to be different this time around. Perhaps it was the distance between our last in-person conference – or, perhaps it was the youthful, invigorating energy from the numerous students and post-docs that we met. But, it did seem different. The open discussions of using green chemistry to address diversity, equity and inclusion, along with the themes of systems thinking and solving sustainability challenges through green chemistry resonated deeply with us, and with many of the attendees.
It was exciting to see new, emerging leaders in the green chemistry community. To kick off the conference, Dr. Adelina Voutchkova was welcomed as the new of Director of Sustainable Development and the Green Chemistry Institute at the ACS. As a longtime member of the green chemistry education community, we are excited to see her take on this leadership role. During her presentation, Adelina gave some important remarks about the influence of her very first GC&E conference in 2005 on her career. She reached out specifically to the students and next generation of scientists, educators and researchers in the room to encourage them to continue participating in the conference and to take advantage of the many benefits it can offer.
It was encouraging to see so many energetic, talented students who are embarking on their careers participating in the conference, such as Bria Garcia, a graduate student at the University of Delaware, who was participating for the first time as a graduate student. Listening to Anthony Rodriguez (recent graduate, Seton Hall University) present on his undergraduate research and hear him say “green chemistry has caused me to think about my actions in and outside of the lab” left us with so much hope for the future. He will be starting graduate school in the fall and we have full confidence that we will be hearing about his numerous contributions in green chemistry in the coming years. Tony Jin, Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Audrey Moores’ group at McGill University, was recognized for his innovative research through a poster award on his work on chitosan nanocrystals – a new type of nanomaterial derived from shell waste. These emerging researchers and leaders will pave the way for chemists to solve global challenges – and, they are so very needed in this community.
Diversity, equity and inclusion was another theme that resonated throughout the conference . It was really exciting to hear these topics discussed openly and hear how green chemistry can be used as a tool to address these challenges and inequities. The role of women in green chemistry and sustainability was particularly interesting to hear – Dr. Juliana Vidal (Beyond Benign post-graduate liaison) shared how women are agents of change in a recent editorial from a number of leading green chemistry researchers. Mary Kate Lane (Yale University) presented a subject that is often taboo within chemistry research – being pregnant in the lab. Her review titled “What to Expect When Expecting in the Lab” was really exciting to hear – as pregnant women (and their unborn children) face unique risks in the lab and as a result, pregnant women have historically had to make choices that impact their careers. Equitably providing resources for women to remain in chemistry research and take part in the green chemistry movement is essential in the field to ensure a diversity of perspectives and leaders take part in creating solutions. Dr. David Laviska (Seton Hall University) also provided some great insight on making the STEM fields more inclusive by providing good student support mechanisms. And, GCLTC Leadership Committee Member Andrea Ashley-Oyewole (Prairie View A&M University, GCC Signer) shared the work from the GCTLC Diversity, Equity, Belonging, and Respect Subcommittee and how they aim to interweave equitable and inclusive practices throughout the online platform. The open discussions around how to actively include diverse students and perspectives was refreshing to hear and we are hopeful for the direction that this will bring us within the community.
Finally, we were so proud to participate in, and listen to, numerous fantastic symposia and presentations from the green chemistry education community. Including:
- Ken Hoffman (Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, GCTLC Leadership Committee member, Beyond Benign Lead Teacher), who summarized a systems thinking approach to teaching high school chemistry through green chemistry principles.
- Elizabeth Day (University of Texas El Paso) and Alexey Leontyev (North Dakota State University, GCTLC Leadership Committee member) organized a session on Assessment of Student Knowledge and Skills in Green Chemistry, Sustainability, and Systems Thinking – more evidence to build the case for green chemistry education is so important.
- Glenn Hurst (York University, GCTLC Leadership Committee member) presented on assessment of systems thinking in green chemistry in higher education via the design of a first-generation biorefinery.
- Sonya Doucette (Bellevue College) and Marta Guron (University of Pennsylvania) gave insights into teaching undergraduate general chemistry through an environmental justice lens and assessing green chemistry in an introductory chemistry module using systems thinking concepts
- GCC Advisory Board member Ed Brush (Bridgewater State University, GCC Signer) and Beyond Benign collaborators Jane Wissinger (University of Minnesota, GCC Signer) and Grace Lasker (UW Bothell) organized a Systems Thinking and UN SDG-themed session on Monday afternoon
- A fantastic session on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect (DEIR) in Chemistry and Engineering was organized by GCTLC Leadership Committee Members David Laviska and Glenn Hurst, with Michael Wentzel (Augsburg University). The session talks focused on the importance of equitable and universal access to green chemistry resources, and creating and providing resources that reflect the diversity of a global population, including the previously mentioned talks, and a talk by Cynthia Woodbridge (Georgia Gwinnett College) on her efforts towards “ungrading”: assessing students using nontraditional and inclusive methods to promote and enhance their learning.
- Beyond Benign’s Director of Higher Education Natalie O’Neil co-organized a session with Samy Ponnusamy (MilliporeSigma, GCC Advisory Board member) and Dean Campbell (Bradley University, Beyond Benign Greener Chemistry Laboratory Faculty Fellow) on “Integrating Sustainable Practices into Teaching and Research laboratories through Systems Thinking”. During the symposium, presentations from Namrata Jain (My Green Lab), Glenn Hurst, and Barb Morra highlighted some of the phenomenal efforts being made in introducing sustainability into undergraduate laboratories, including through student-centered research projects. Particularly inspiring was the collaborative work between John De Backere (University of Toronto, GCC Signer, Beyond Benign Greener Chemistry Laboratory Faculty Fellow), Matt Cranswick (Colorado State University – Pueblo), and Edward Zovinka (Saint Francis University) on bringing green chemistry and greener experiments into undergraduate inorganic chemistry labs (stay tuned for the release of the new resource guide in August!).
- A toxicology session organized by Teresa McGrath (Healthy Building Network) and Lauren Heine (ChemFORWARD) wrapped up the last day of the conference. The session was aimed at increasing education on hazards assessment, smarter molecular design, and greener product development in chemistry and engineering programs. Higher Education Program Manager Nimrat Obhi presented on Beyond Benign’s upcoming Toxicology for Chemists curriculum: a fully open-access curriculum that teaches introductory chemistry students the basic principles of toxicology to allow them to design safer molecules! (The curriculum will be launched online on August 1, 2022 – sign up here to stay tuned for details!). In addition, talks were presented by Rena Miu (Healthy Building Network), Chris Bartlett (ChemFORWARD), Shegufa Shetranjiwalla (Memorial University, Beyond Benign community member), and Elliot Rossomme (Messiah College) and Amanda Guan (UC Berkeley, GCC Signer) on hazards assessment tools and educational strategies all geared toward minimizing hazard and risk when designing chemical products.
And, finally, our very own Jon Moir (Green Chemistry Teaching and Learning Community (GCLTC) Program Manager) presented a great overview of the GCTLC program, focusing on its development and progress, and emphasizing how this new online platform will serve and support a diverse green chemistry community. It is through this platform that we are hopeful to continue the conversations that we start at these in-person conferences. The tool can be a place for following-up with colleagues, sharing that paper from that talk that you heard, and collaborating with new (and old!) colleagues to amplify our collective impacts and accelerate the adoption of green chemistry in our educational systems. It won’t replace the energy from in-person experiences, but we hope it will sustain it until next time… so, until next time, we look forward to “seeing” you (and your cat!) on Zoom!
June 20, 2022By Nimrat Obhi, Jonathon Moir, Amy Cannon & Natalie J. O'Neil The group of Green Chemistry educators from the GC education session. Upon returning from our first in-person conference since [...]
Join us at the 2022 Green Chemistry Commitment Summit to hear how our first Green Chemistry Education Challenge award-winners are working to develop diverse, replicable models to incorporate green chemistry into science departments.
Part of the excitement and challenge of working to bring green chemistry to higher education institutions across the nation is the diversity of approaches needed for success. It is through this diversity that we will have the greatest impact on the most students, helping to equip the scientists of the future with the knowledge and resources to tackle our most pressing challenges.
This is why Beyond Benign developed the Green Chemistry Commitment (GCC) 25×25 goal, which seeks to ensure that 25 percent of graduating chemists in the U.S. have a background in green chemistry by 2025. To help us realize this goal, in partnership with Dow, in 2021 we created our first Green Chemistry Education Challenge Awards. Through the awards, we provide support to challenge winners to empower faculty and students to bring green chemistry to their departments.
Last year we were thrilled to award the first of these grants to the University of California Berkeley; Michigan State University; and Southern University. Using award funding, these three universities are designing approximately 10 teaching resources for undergraduate courses, helping bring green chemistry directly to more than 3,000 students each year.
The diversity of approaches at each of these universities will serve as models for additional institutions to create pathways for shifting their chemistry teaching and practice. Join us at the upcoming free, virtual Green Chemistry Commitment Summit to hear how these universities designed and/or expanded green chemistry at their institutions, and what’s next for our Green Chemistry Education Challenge Awards. The Summit is open to all. We hope to see you there!
“Green chemistry is a fundamental building block toward designing safer materials for a sustainable planet,” says Eunice Heath, Dow’s corporate director of Sustainability. “Therefore, we are partnering with Beyond Benign to ensure students are entering the workforce with the essential green chemistry and sustainable chemistry knowledge and skills to help us address solutions for circular economy and decarbonization. These are the world’s greatest challenges as we strive for a sustainable future for generations to come.”
Learn More About Our Challenge Award Recipients & Projects
Southern University: A 2021 Green Chemistry Commitment (GCC) signer, Southern University will use its award to design a 3-year project to implement green chemistry across the entire Chemistry department. Fundamental concepts and real-life applications of green chemistry will be introduced and taught in these courses to provide students an insightful perspective of the significant role green chemistry plays in solving environmental issues such as global warming and pollution, along with hands-on approaches in chemistry laboratory courses.
Michigan State University: A GCC Signer since 2018, MSU is using the award to pilot and evaluate green chemistry and project-based laboratory curriculum designed for organic laboratory courses for STEM and BA chemistry majors. This award will support the work of undergraduates as they beta-test the student-facing curricular materials to plan and carry out each investigation and to design protocols to evaluate each project on key green & sustainable chemistry principles, using appropriate metrics.
University of California Berkeley: UC Berkeley, a founding GCC Signer since the program launched in 2013, has been a leader in green chemistry education. With this award, the University will build upon the work it has done to integrate green chemistry in first year- level general chemistry. Through this award, the University will start a complete redesign of the curriculum for its sophomore-level organic course to explicitly integrate GCC Student Learning Goals.
June 17, 2022Join us at the 2022 Green Chemistry Commitment Summit to hear how our first Green Chemistry Education Challenge award-winners are working to develop diverse, replicable models to incorporate green chemistry [...]