Educational Initiatives in Green Chemistry, Systems Thinking and the UN Sustainable Development Goals through an Equitable and Inclusive Chemistry Curriculum
Symposium Organizers: Ed Brush, Professor of Chemical Sciences, Bridgewater State University; Grace Lasker, Teaching Professor, University of Washington; Jane Wissinger, Distinguished University Teaching Professor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
This symposium will bring together the green chemistry community to discuss and explore key issues and big ideas in green and sustainable chemistry education. The world presents us with problems whose complexity and impact we can barely imagine, but that we must solve. As educators, our mission is to prepare our students to do exactly that. The integration and scaffolding of green and sustainable chemistry, systems thinking and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into an equitable and inclusive undergraduate curriculum can inspire students to take ownership of their education, and graduate with the satisfaction that their classroom knowledge allows them to understand and contribute to solving big global problems. The SDGs are the world’s “to-do” list, a global agenda to improve the lives of people by addressing world-wide challenges of poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all. Students can envision chemistry career paths that have excellent potential to make significant contributions in achieving these goals. Green chemistry provides the technical and practical knowledge required for the design of new chemical products and processes, while minimizing adverse impacts on human health and the environment. Systems thinking addresses the interconnectedness of local and global systems interjecting a holistic and life cycle approach to assure the design and use of sustainable chemistries. Framing chemistry education through the SDGs will help advance the chemistry enterprise in achieving sustainability, assist those being trained to enter the workforce, and help better communicate the societal benefits of green and sustainable chemistry technologies.