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Vol. 32 No. 4
July-August 2010


Teaching about the Role of Green Chemistry

by Fulvio Zecchini, Aurelia Pascariu, Patrizia Vazquez, Ligia Maria Moretto, Anthony Patti, Panayotis Siskos, Pietro Tundo

Originally published in 2004 in Italian, Il Cambiamento Globale del Clima (Global Climate Change) was written by Fulvio Zecchini and Pietro Tundo of the Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale “La Chimica per l’Ambiente” (INCA). Meant as an integrative educational tool, the booklet was designed to introduce green chemistry to seniors at secondary schools and to university freshmen. About 4000 copies were printed and distributed for free to schools and universities all over Italy. The monograph was so appreciated by Italian teachers, students, and academic experts, that a wider distribution is planned.

So far, the Subcommittee on Green Chemistry has completed three projects to translate the monograph into the following five languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese (project 2005-015-1-300); Romanian (project 2007-035-1-300), and Greek (project 2008-018-2-300). All these editions are being, or already have been, distributed to target groups in several countries and have received positive feedback from end-users.

The monograph is structured into five chapters. The first two are focused on the composition and structure of the atmosphere and on air pollutants. The third chapter is dedicated to the interaction between matter and radiation, namely between greenhouse gases (GHGs) and infrared rays (IR).

Cover image from the book Il Cambiamento Globale del Clima
(by Francesco Tundo).

The fourth chapter is focused on the depletion of the ozone layer. Since several GHGs also act as ozone depleting substances (ODSs), this topic is somewhat related to global warming and is presented in a comparative way, underlining that, even if often the involved pollutants are the same, the phenomena are different and take place in different levels of the atmosphere.

The final chapter of the monograph is dedicated to the consequences of global warming and possible countermeasures. Being a global problem, the “political” solution must be global as well. New and effective international protocols must be agreed on in order to replace the ineffective Kyoto protocol. Nonetheless, the message of this chapter is that actual solutions can only come from scientists and namely from chemists, who must develop solutions to abate CO2 emissions caused by human activity.

Besides the five versions sponsored by IUPAC projects, two further adaptations/translations were realized. The Arabic edition was produced in 2006–2007 using European Commission funds derived from the Tempus Joint European Project “Sustainable Environmental Development, A Curriculum Development Project,” in which INCA participated.

The success of the different editions of the monograph has helped improve the public perception of chemistry as a fundamental scientific tool to solve global environmental problems, such as climate change. Each clear demonstration to younger generations of how much chemistry occurs in everyday life and of its usefulness for environmental protection contributes to raising awareness of, and engendering an interest in, this fascinating and useful discipline.

All of the above-mentioned versions of the monograph may be downloaded for free at <www.incaweb.org/publications>.

www.iupac.org/web/ins/2005-015-1-300


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