Teaching chemistry with sustainability
Increased awareness on a critical association between the natural environment and human development gave rise multiple projects, aiming to protect the natural environment and to preserve it for future generations. Chemists must be acquainted with the principles of green chemistry and the need to practice experimental chemistry with cleaner chemical reactions and sustainability. This is a major concern for all the educators forming new professionals within the Chemistry, Pharmacology and Biology curricula in the Faculty for Higher Studies Zaragoza from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. With this in mind, we start our teachings explaining from the very beginning, how important it is to perform microscale techniques and to follow the principles of green chemistry in the Basic Science Laboratory. Furthermore, we have modified, designed and evaluated working procedures related with chemical synthesis, kinetics and calorimetry. By doing this, we managed to greatly reduce the amount of reagents required and residues generated. Some laboratory reagents have been substituted with renewable substances. We have also included in our programme a regular treatment of residues generated during everyday laboratory work. Our goal is to emphasize the importance of minimizing the environmental impact of chemistry and to prepare environmentally concerned professionals who keep sustainability as main priority and perform chemistry procedures with good laboratory practice routines.
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