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Lesson One: The Essentials of Green Chemistry

Module One: Changing Course


The following questions are meant to give you an idea of this module's primary learning objectives. If you feel comfortable answering the questions without reviewing your notes, then you are on your way to understanding the content of this module.

  • The need for a "green" approach to chemistry is becoming increasingly obvious. Why is that?
  • List some consequences if we continue to practice chemistry the way we always have.
  • Why do chemists practice chemistry the way they do? What, generally, is the primary goal of traditional chemistry?
  • If chemistry must change the way it does the work that it does, how should it go about accomplishing that work?
  • The challenges we face and the transformations the field must undergo reveal that we face three grand challenges. Think about those challenges. Why these and not others? Could there be others?
  • What role does ethics play in the practice of sustainable chemistry?
  • What are some of the obstacles to tackling the problems we face with a new approach to chemistry? How does this relate to the responsibility of chemists to apply sustainability ethics?
  • Think through some examples of green solutions to the kind of chemistry we practice today. Are there any you can imagine inventing?
  • Some scientists believe that by 2050 solar power could supply the United States with nearly 70% of its electricity and 35% of its total energy. How?
  • Can you review some of the details of this solar power plan? Could you articulate them?
  • What is the central idea behind the practice of green chemistry?

Creative Thinking Challenge

What are the various ways you can imagine that a technology is identified and understood to be unsustainable?

If you have completed this Review, and are ready to take the Quiz for this module, please click on the "Quiz" button in the menu on the right of this page. If you aren't taking this course for credit, or wish to skip the Quiz, then click the "Next" button below to go on to the next module.