Geoethics: how and why should geosciences serve society?
Geoscientists face ethical issues in their activities. All branches of geosciences have ethical, social and cultural implications. Geoethics aims to provide a common framework for these concerns, and to nourish a discussion on the basic values which underpin appropriate behaviors and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system.
The spectrum of topics geoethics deals with includes:
• philosophical and historical aspects of geoscience, their relevance to ethical issues and values in contemporary geoscience, and their role in informing methods for effective and ethical decision-making;
• geoscience professionalism and deontology, research integrity and ensuring respectful working spaces, including issues related to harassment and discrimination, gender and disability in geosciences;
• ethical and social problems related to management of land, air and water;
• socio-environmentally sustainable supply of geo-resources (including energy, minerals and water), recognising the importance of effective regulation and policy-making, social acceptance, and understanding and promoting best practice;
• environmental change, pollution and their impacts;
• resilience of society related to natural and anthropogenic hazards, and risk management and mitigation strategies;
• ethical aspects of geoscience education (including issues from theory to educational practice) and communication;
• culture and value of geodiversity, geoconservation, geoheritage and fossils, geoparks and geotourism;
• role of geosciences in achieving socio-economic development that respects cultures, traditions and local development paths, regardless of countries' wealth, and in promoting peace, responsible and sustainable development and intercultural exchange.
Geoscientists’ knowledge and expertise are essential to addressing many of the most urgent global problems, to informed decision-making, and to education at all levels, so that citizens are equipped to discuss, shape and implement solutions to local, regional and global socio-environmental problems. Geoscientists who are more aware of their ethical responsibilities will be better able to put their knowledge at the service of society and to foster public trust in geosciences.
Acknowledging the role of geoscientists at the service of society, this session, co-sponsored by IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics, aims to develop ethical and social perspectives on the above topics, including case studies.