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Chemistry Colloquium Series: Amy Cannon (Beyond Benign – Green Chemistry Education)
January 27, 2023 | 3:40 pm - 4:40 pm
About the Colloquium:
Green chemistry education: An upstream approach to addressing sustainable development goals
The field of chemistry, providing the molecular building blocks of materials and products used throughout society, has a critical and foundational role in addressing the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations. Green chemistry provides chemists with principles and a framework to design chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate hazards and impacts. Chemists, with green chemistry skills, have made significant positive impacts on society through the design of sustainable chemistry technologies. For example, the use of biobased solvents can result in a 97% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in an industrial setting, while break-through green chemistry technologies can reduce the inherent Global Warming Potential of a chemical products, enabling chemists to take the urgent action needed to address climate change (U.N. SDG #13). Unfortunately, our current global education systems do not properly prepare most scientists to select and design sustainable chemicals, processes, materials and products. Green chemistry education addresses sustainability at the earliest stages of the value chain, maximizing impacts. Undergraduate and graduate level training is an essential stage in the training of scientists and professionals that are prepared with the skills to address hazards and mitigate impacts at the design stage of a product lifecycle.
About the Speaker:
Amy received the world’s first Ph.D. in Green Chemistry. Holding an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Saint Anselm College (1997), Amy sought to use her chemistry degree within the field of sustainability. At the University of Massachusetts Boston, she met Dr. John Warner, who introduced her to green chemistry, a blossoming movement in the late 1990’s. It was there where they created a Ph.D. concentration in Green Chemistry, addressing the education gap in chemistry education – chemists were not being properly prepared with skills to design and create solutions to support the development and implementation of sustainable chemical products. After working in industry (Rohm and Haas, and Gillette Company) and academia (University of Massachusetts Lowell), Amy remained passionate about Green Chemistry education, recognizing the growing need for education systems to change to prepare scientists with Green Chemistry skills to address sustainability through chemistry. In 2007, Amy co-founded, Beyond Benign, a non-profit solely dedicated to advancing Green Chemistry education. Since inception, this organization has been leading Green Chemistry education initiatives in K-12 through higher education, focusing on empowering educators to make transformative change in their teaching and practice.
Check the website for additional information on Beyond Benign.