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The Green Chemistry Initiative at the University of Toronto

November #WomenOfGreenChemistry: Heather Buckley (@greensafewater_)

Dr. Heather Buckley (@greensafewater_) is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at the University of Victoria. Her interdisciplinary research team tackles challenges at the interface of green chemistry, civil engineering, and public health, centering their efforts around creating tools for better monitoring of drinking water contaminants and the design of safer alternative technologies in water treatment. The GCI was excited to have Dr. Buckley as an invited speaker at the annual symposium in 2019!

Heather Buckley earned a BSc and MSc in chemistry from the University of British Columbia. She earned a PhD in inorganic chemistry from the University of California Berkeley as an International Fullbright Science & Technology Fellow. Dr. Buckley completed her postdoctoral work as the Associate Director of International Partnerships at the UC Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, was a Green Talents Fellow at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy in Freiburg, Germany, and was an ITRI Rosenfeld Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She then joined the University of Victoria as an Assistant Professor in January 2018.

Through designing greener technologies and tools for environmental monitoring Dr. Buckley is helping communities and industrial partners ensure the safety of their drinking water. We want to honour Heather Buckley for being an inspiring #WomenInGreenChemistry!

#GreenChemistry #WomenInChemistry #WomenInSTEM



October #WomenOfGreenChemistry: Amy Cannon (@Amy_Cannon)

Amy Cannon is the co-founder and executive director of Beyond Benign (@beyondbenign), a non-profit organization dedicated to green chemistry education. Beyond Benign is transforming chemistry education through fostering a green chemistry education community which empowers and supports educators and students from elementary to graduate school to implement green chemistry and sustainable science into the classroom. A major project led by Beyond Benign is the Green Chemistry Commitment, a commitment for college and universities to implement and improve green chemistry and toxicology education for all chemistry students. This project has been incredibly successful, with 62 commitment signers from 7 different countries – including the chemistry department (@chemuoft) at University of Toronto!

Amy Cannon earned a bachelor’s degree majoring in Chemistry from Saint Anselm College, a M.S. in chemistry from University of Massachusetts Boston, and the world’s first Ph.D. in Green Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She worked as an Assistant Professor of Green Chemistry and Director of Outreach and Community Education at the Center for Green Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts Lowell until 2007, before co-founding Beyond Benign. Amy was awarded the 2012 EPA New England Environmental Merit award for her leadership and work on green chemistry education. She also serves on the editorial board for the journal Green Chemistry Letters & Reviews.

Through outreach, resource development, training, and more, Amy has been leading the growth of a community of sustainable chemists and educators to improve the health of society and the environment. We want to honour Amy Cannon for being an inspiring #WomenInGreenChemistry!



Women of Green Chemistry

The GCI and WICTO are excited to launch the #WomenOfGreenChemistry campaign, celebrating an influential and inspiring woman in the field of green chemistry education, technology, and research each month! Check back each month to learn more about these incredible women leading the way in green chemistry!

Introducing #WomenOfGreenChemistry

Our first highlight is Jane Wissinger fro the University of Minnesota. Click here to read more about it.


Green Marketing in the Plastic Era: Honesty or Hype?

The impact of human activity on climate and the environment has moved beyond a mainstream headline. It has come to the point where we are considered the dominant influence on our ecosystems and geology, so much so that there is a buzzword for it: ‘Anthropocene’. Within the Anthropocene, our greatest challenge is lessening the effects of our immense footprint on Earth, mainly caused by consumption of fossil fuels and our obsession with plastics. Consequently, there has been a considerable spike in eco-friendly or ‘green’ marketing of numerous products labeled as ‘organic’, ‘biodegradable’, or ‘sustainable’ ranging from fuels, cars, skincare, all the way to clothing. One common advertising theme for several everyday products is post-consumer recycled materials and their incorporation into the design and production of such commodities. But to what extent are the advertised claims legitimate and whether they allow for a circular economy (e.g. make, use, recover)? Here, we will cover the chemistry of popular sustainable alternatives to plastics and compare them to their non-sustainable counterparts to assess whether the ‘green’ hype is valid.

Click here to check out our latest blog written by Nina-Francesca Farac to find out!


2019 Symposium schedule now online!

Keep up to date with our 2019 GCI symposium titled “Frontiers in Green Chemistry: Challenges in the Anthropocene”. The symposium schedule is now online! Check it out here.



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Announcing the 2019 Symposium!



The GCI is proud to announce our 2019 symposium titled "Frontiers in Green Chemistry" Challenges in the Anthropocene" will be held at the University of Toronto on May 16th and 17th. Also included is a crash source on the fundamentals of Green Chemistry. More information can be found here.


Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention - Green Chemistry Principle # 12

The Green Chemistry Initiative explains how the choice of inherently safer chemistry can minimize the potential for chemical accidents.



Read the corresponding blog post and check out our other videos on the principles of green chemistry at our YouTube channel.


Real-Time Analysis for Pollution Prevention - Green Chemistry Principle # 11

The Green Chemistry Initiative explains some real-time analytical techniques which can help reduce hazards in chemical reactions.



Read the corresponding blog post and check out our other videos on the principles of green chemistry at our YouTube channel.


Highlights of the 2018 GCI Symposium

Want to catch up on the 2018 GCI Symposium? One of our members, Rachel Hems, wrote a newsletter article for the Chemical Institute of Canada highlighting talks from invited speakers and interactive case studies. Click here to find out more.


Upcoming Seminar: Quantifying Environmental Contaminants at Environment and Climate Change Canada

On May 8th, 2018 Magali Houde from Environment and Climate Change Canada will be coming to the University of Toronto to discuss the development of analytic techniques to quantify environmental contaminants in aquatic systems. Case studies include threatened populations in the St. Lawrence River ecosystem as well as trends in chemical contamination in the Canadian Arctic. To learn more about the seminar please visit our seminar series page.



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Early Bird Registration for the GCI Symposium is Extended!

Are you planning on attending the GCI Symposium but haven't finalized your plans? You are in luck, the Early Bird Registration has been extended to Sunday April 22nd, 2018! Register now here!

For full details, please visit our Symposium page.


Announcing the 2018 Symposium!



The GCI is proud to announce our 2018 symposium will be held at the University of Toronto this year, and will also include a crash source on the fundamentals of Green Chemistry. More information can be found here.



Green Chemistry 101

One of our members, Rachel Hems, wrote an article for the Let's Talk Science online platform Curiocity called Green Chemistry 101. It highlights the basics of green chemistry, sustainability, and how you can incorporate green chemistry in and out of the lab! More information can be found here.


Design for Degradation - Green Chemistry Principle # 10

The Green Chemistry Initiative explains Designing For Degradation: synthesizing molecules that degrade to harmless molecules once their desired function is complete.



Read the corresponding blog post and check out our other videos on the principles of green chemistry at our YouTube channel.


Ecocatalysis: Harnessing Phytoextraction for Chemical Transformations

By Karlee Bamford, Treasurer for the GCI

What is ecocatalysis? I had never heard this term before until reading a recent publication from Grison and coworkers in the RSC journal Green Chemistry entitled “Ecocatalyzed Suzuki cross coupling of heteroaryl compounds”.1 In this work, the authors perform the familiar Suzuki cross-coupling of arylboronic acids (Figure 1) with heteroaryl halides. However, they use a thoroughly unfamiliar palladium catalyst: the common water hyacinth.


Figure 1. The general reaction for Suzuki cross-coupling (Ar = substituted phenyl, thiophene, or indole groups).

Continue reading at our blog.



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Catalysis - Green Chemistry Principle # 9

The Green Chemistry Initiative explains how catalysts work, and why they are so useful in making chemical reactions more efficient.




Check out our other videos on the principles of green chemistry at our Youtube Channel


Upcoming Seminar: Sustainability at Sanofi Pasteur

On July 11th 2017 Mr. Douglas Kube of Sanofi Pasteur will be coming to the University of Toronto to discuss sustainability at Sanofi Pasteur. To learn more about the seminar please visit our seminar series page.


Issues of Sustainability in Laboratories Outside the Field of Chemistry: Pipette Tips

By David Djenic, Member-at-Large for the GCI

As a biochemistry student in the Green Chemistry Initiative, I'm interested in looking at how to implement the principles of green chemistry in molecular biology and biochemistry labs. While molecular biology labs focus more on studying biological systems and molecules rather than synthesizing new molecules, like in synthetic chemistry, there are still problems when it comes to performing environmentally sustainable research.

Read more at our blog.


Going to CSC 2017? We have a Green Chemistry and Sustainability Travel Scholarship!

Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI) and GreenCentre Canada (GCC) are offering up to five (5) travel scholarships valued $300 each for 100th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition attendees. These travel scholarships will be awarded to those who are in financial need, and those to whom share an interest sustainability.

The due date of this application is April 10th, 5:00 pm EDT

For specific details on eligibility and how to apply please visit our Symposium Webpage here and look under "Green Chemistry and Sustainability Travel Scholarships".



GCI Video 8: Reduce Derivatives

The Green Chemistry Initiative shows that, although chemically useful, derivatives such as protecting groups are wasteful and should be avoided whenever possible.




Check out our other videos on the principles of green chemistry at our Youtube Channel