Contact Information

  • Julie A. Haack
  • Senior Instructor
  • Chemistry
  • 1253 University of Oregon
  • Eugene, OR 97403
541 520-0559

The Chemistry of Sustainability

Course Syllabus (PDF)

Author Contact:


This course introduces students to the process of scientific reasoning by studying the central role chemists play in developing the knowledge and tools for society to not only meet our basic needs for energy, clean water, and food but to address the grand challenges of protecting human health and the environment. Using a case-study approach, this course illustrates how basic chemical concepts including atomic structure, bonding, intermolecular forces and reactivity are applied to address important issues such as renewable energy, sustainable consumer products, bioplastics, clean water and nanoscience. Sustainable development is an interdisciplinary activity and this course addresses how life cycle assessment and the principles of green chemistry are being used to provide a platform for a collaborative approach to sustainability.

Reading lists are included with the syllabi and examples of class projects are included in the additional resources.


Haack, J. A.; Berglund, J. A.; Hutchison, J.; Johnson, D. W.; Lonergan, M. C.; Tyler, D. R. Chemistry of Sustainability, Chemistry, University of Oregon, 2010

Category Descriptors

Chemistry Concepts
  • Biofuels
  • Boiling Points (Physical Properties of Matter)
  • Carbonyl Chemistry
  • Enzymes
  • Fatty Acids
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Industrial Chemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Melting Points and Ranges
  • Nanotechnology (Special Topics)
  • Natural Products
  • Noncovalent Interactions
  • Oxidation/Reduction Chemistry
  • Phases/Phase Transitions
  • Photochemistry
  • Polymerization
  • Separation Science
  • Solutions/Solvents
  • Water - Water Chemistry
Green Chemistry Principles
  • Analyze in Real-Time to Prevent Pollution
  • Avoid Chemical Derivatives
  • Design for Degradation
  • Design Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses
  • Design Safer Chemicals and Products
  • Increase Energy Efficiency
  • Maximize Atom Economy
  • Minimize the Potential for Accidents
  • Prevent Waste
  • Use Catalysts
  • Use Renewable Feedstocks
  • Use Safer Solvents/Reaction Conditions
Chemistry Subdiscipline
  • Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary
Target Audience
  • Colleges/Universities
  • Secondary Schools
  • Original Contributions - unpublished