In June, The University of Bath hosted a visit from Professor John Warner, a pioneer of green chemistry and one of the world’s most prominent proponents of sustainable technologies. The visit began with an inspiring lecture on the naturally interdependent cyclic systems in our universe, whose complexity is derived from their co-emergence over 3.8 billion years ago. He spoke about how as an industrial species, humankind has developed processes that are independent of this universal ecosystem. He also suggested that if we are to create a sustainable existence and a circular economy, we need to adopt new technologies that require the inventive application of biomimicry and green chemistry, that work in tandem with the laws of nature, and the importance of making sure that the next generation of chemists is equipped to do this.
During his appointment as Global Chair at the University Professor Warner has delivered a series of public lectures on sustainability and engaged in a wide range of seminars with senior academics, but in particular has facilitated our University’s Green Chemistry Commitment, a global initiative for embedding green chemistry principles into the undergraduate chemistry curriculum. We are proud to be the first university in the UK to sign this Charter, under which signatories commit to teaching their students about the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry. They will learn about toxicology and how chemicals affect human health and the environment. They will also develop laboratory skills to design greener alternatives to chemical processes that are not harmful to human health and the environment.
During Professor Warner’s tenure, he has worked closely with students and colleagues at the Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies at Bath, inspiring new pathways for the chemistry curriculum and providing mentorship and career advice to PhD students. He has also lent his support to Bath’s strategic partnership with Monash University, which we hope will lead to fruitful joint research with the Monash Sustainable Development Institute. It has been an honour to have Professor Warner as a Global Chair and we look forward to supporting future collaborations across the University.