Learning About Green Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry is very committed to teaching principles of green chemistry and sustainability throughout its range of undergraduate programs. This is partly due to the fact that chemists have a critical role to play in addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that focus on many global challenges that society faces. In addition, students in programs of study outside the department may eventually become science policy makers where a fundamental understanding of environmentally responsible chemistry practices is of paramount importance. 

Towards these ends, the Department of Chemistry was the first Canadian unit to sign on to the Green Chemistry Commitment (GCC) in 2016. This is a voluntary pledge to assist in the preparation of chemists and indeed scientists in general whose skills are aligned with the needs of the planet and its inhabitants in the 21st century. Participating in the GCC ensures that students in all first-year undergraduate courses and Chemistry programs become conversant with the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, and understand how scientists are becoming more environmentally aware. Members of the departmental Green Chemistry Initiative are routinely involved in teaching undergraduates in both classroom and laboratory settings. 

More information about the departmental approach to teaching green chemistry is presented in this article. In addition, the work of the Green Chemistry Initiative graduate students both inside and outside the department is profiled in this article: The Green Chemistry Initiative’s contributions to education at the University of Toronto and beyond.