Restore Our Earth

Earth Day 2021, with the theme of “Restore Our Earth”, along with Chemists Celebrate Earth Week 2021 from ACS with the theme “Reducing Our Footprint with Chemistry”, provides a rich opportunity to reflect on the extent to which we integrate sustainability into chemistry education. “

This is exactly what Peter Mahaffy and colleagues from the IUPAC task group 2020-014-3-050 on “Systems Thinking in Chemistry for Sustainability: Toward 2030 and Beyond (STCS 2030+)” did in a guest editorial published this week in the Journal of Chemical Education, titled “Integrating Sustainability into Learning in Chemistry”*.

“This editorial highlights how the interdisciplinary work of integrating sustainability into chemistry education can be guided by systems thinking, and by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Planetary Boundaries frameworks. Such systematic approaches can energize educators and learners to situate chemistry within a broader landscape of knowledge and thus tap chemistry’s potential to enhance sustainability.”

The authors highlight the importance of transforming chemistry education so that it can play a meaningful role in achieving a sustainable future for our planet and its people. By applying systems thinking, the IUPAC STCS 2030+ project working group is highlighting the centrality of chemistry as a sustainability science and developing systems-thinking-oriented activities and approaches that integrate sustainability frameworks into chemistry education. One focus of the working group is to contribute to the goals of the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development, IYBSSD-2022.


*Jane E. Wissinger, Aurelia Visa, Bipul B. Saha, Stephen A. Matlin, Peter G. Mahaffy, Klaus Kümmerer, and Sarah Cornell, Journal of Chemical Education 2021, 98, 4, 1061-1063 (Editorial); (online, 14 April 2021)

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