Geoscientists of all disciplines face ethical issues when exercising their professions. All branches of geosciences have ethical, social and cultural implications. Geoethics intends to provide a common framework for these concerns, such as to discuss the values which underpin appropriate behaviors and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system. Building on recent efforts the geo-ethical frameworks for geoscience research and practices, which can help geoscientists confronting ethical dilemmas and make them more aware of their responsibility in conducting their activities, have to be developed constantly.
Geoethical principles apply to geoscientists’ work across four equally important domains: the self, colleagues, society and the natural/cultural environments. Respectively, the spectrum of geoethics topics is very large. It includes, for example, issues of research integrity and professional deontology, conduct of research activities such as design of research questions, observation schemes, data gathering data analysis, simulation and scenario/theory building, interinstitutional matters such as conflicts of interests and publishing ethics, the role of geoscientists in sustainable development, exploration and use of geo-resources, water and soil while meeting high standards of environmental protection, the defense of the society against natural risks, and the impact of human activities (including pollution) on human wellbeing and Earth System Dynamics (e.g. climate, nitrogen fluxes). Furthermore, the spectrum includes interfaces with social sciences and humanities, for example when encompassing the ethical implications of science communication, public awareness of the importance of geosciences, geo-education for the citizen, of geoheritage and geoparks as tools to raise insights into the importance of Earth system to our lives and cultures. Finally the spectrum includes also addressing harassment and discrimination in the geosciences, including on grounds of gender, ethnicity or disability; so is the role of geosciences in the economic and social development of low-income countries while respecting local cultures and traditions, and in promoting peace and intercultural exchange.
Geoscientists make fundamental contributions to address many of the most urgent problems that are affecting Earth and people. Technical knowledge and expert advice are vital for informed decision-making, education at all levels, and to equip the citizens to participate at the quest and implementation of solutions to these problems. Geoscientists with awareness of their ethical responsibilities towards themselves, colleagues, society and the environment will be able to put their knowledge at the service of society, to communicate it effectively, and to foster public trust in science-based solutions.
The conveners invite abstracts on both practical and theoretical aspects of geoethics, including case studies. The aim of the session is to develop ethical and social perspectives on the challenges arising from human interaction with natural systems, to complement technical approaches and solutions, and to help to define an ethical framework for geoscientists' research and practice in addressing these challenges.