News & Events

Chemistry’s Contributions to the Sustainability Landscape: Why our Planet Needs Systems Thinking Chemists, Educators, and Citizens

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 - 12:45 to 14:00
Dr. Peter Mahaffy
Department of Chemistry, The King's University
Event Category: 
LMC - Lectures in Modern Chemistry
José Rodríguez Núñez
Chemistry B250

Chemistry, the science of transformation of matter, has a central role to play in building a sustainable future for our planet. This includes addressing the unintended sustainability challenges that arise from the large-scale material transformation by humans over the past fifty years.  What contributions are chemistry and chemistry education making toward sustainability goals, and in what new ways can chemistry educators begin with the molecular basis of sustainability and integrate sustainability orientations, tools and frameworks into teaching and learning? We take a systems approach to this question and draw on the chemistry of refrigerants and reactive nitrogen to illustrate how our profession can transform itself through systems thinking to better contribute at multiple levels toward the emergence of sustainability of the Earth system.  We will also explore an interactive learning tool just released by our King’s Centre for Visualization in Science ( in collaboration with an IUPAC project, that uses the Planetary Boundaries framework (Stockholm Resilience Centre) to connect fundamental chemistry concepts and measurements to sustainability challenges and opportunities.