Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An oath for geoscientists

The Italian Commission of Geoethics, inside the Italian Federation of Earth Sciences, is working on an oath for geoscientists.
The members of the Commission think that the introduction of an ethical code of conduct that follows the example of the Hippocratic Oath for physicians could help geoscientists to acquire binding awareness of their professional and social responsibilities.

For more information, read the paper (download at: http://www.iapg.geoethics.org/pub/6030.pdf), in the Special Issue on Geoethics by Annals of Geophysics, Vol. 55 (2012):

A Hippocratic Oath for geologists?
Ruggero Matteucci (1), Guido Gosso (2), Silvia Peppoloni (3), Sandra Piacente (4), Janusz Wasowski (5)

1) Università di Roma "La Sapienza", Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Rome, Italy
2) Università Statale di Milano, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra "A. Desio", Milan, Italy
3) Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy
4) Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Modena, italy
5) Istituto di Ricerca per la Protezione Idrogeologica, Consorzio nazionale della Ricerca (CNR), Bari, Italy

During the 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane (Australia), Silvia Peppoloni (Secretary General of the IAPG) presented a preliminary formula of the oath, by the Italian Commission of Geoethics, that will be published soon in the IAPG webpages.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Five questions for the future of Geoethics

(by Silvia Peppoloni)

1) How can we articulate the ethical criterion for geoscientists?

2) How can the freedom of research and actions be combined with the principles of sustainability?

3) Where should the line be drawn between preservation and economic development of the geosphere, especially in low-income countries?

4) How can the relationships between geoscientists, media, politicians and citizens be made more profitable, particularly in the defense against natural hazards?

5) What communication and educational strategies should be adopted to transfer the value of the geosciences to society? 

Friday, August 16, 2013

The IAPG section of Jordan

The IAPG section of Jordan has been founded on August 14th, 2013.
Prof. Mamoon Allan (University of Jordan, Amman) is the IAPG responsible for Jordan.
Visit the facebook page of the Jordanian section at: 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A year ago...

On August 8, 2012, Silvia Peppoloni, Secretary General of the IAPG, announced the foundation of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics in her keynote speech, during the 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane (Australia).

She emphasized the importance to recognize and promote the cultural, social and educational value of Earth Sciences, and to stimulate a critical attitude towards the ethical problems in the study and practice of Geosciences among scientists.

In this sense, she underlined the need to introduce a Hippocratic-like oath for young geoscientists (and proposed a formula as a member of the Italian Committee on Geoethics), with the aim of raising the awareness of the role they play in society, protecting the environment, in a perspective of sustainability of georesources, and acting to mitigate natural risks.

Finally, she addressed the scientific community, by posing the following questions in order to stimulate a progress in the field of Geoethics:
  1. How can we articulate the ethical criterion for geoscientists? 
  2. How can the freedom of research and actions be combined with the principles of sustainability? 
  3. Where should the line be drawn between preservation and economic development of the geosphere, especially in low-income countries? 
  4. How can the relationships between geoscientists, media, politicians and citizens be made more profitable, particularly in the defense against natural hazards? 
  5. What communication and educational strategies should be adopted to transfer the value of the geosciences to society? 

She concluded her speech with this reflection:
Before acting and understanding how to act, as Geoscientists we should recognize the value of our actions, to assure a real and long-lasting rootedness of practices, codes and regulations”.

After one year, the IAPG has grown. It has a large number of members in many countries, in all continents.

Recently, it has been recognized as an affiliated organization by the IUGS (International Union of Geological Sciences).

Happy birthday to the IAPG and thanks to all those who are supporting it, in the awareness that we all need to seek answers and solutions to the geo-environmental challenges of our time.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A communication from the IUGS President urging support 
for UNESCO Earth Science Section and IGCP

Dear Colleagues,

The UNESCO home page (www.unesco.org) features the report of the UNESCO Executive Board from July 2013, which contains some extremely concerning facts and statements that should interest every geoscientist! Some examples follow:

- “….set priorities due to an impaired cash flow stemming from the non-payment of a significant sum of assessed contributions….”

- “…..to designate in each Major Programme the following order of priorities amongst the expected results taking into consideration the priorities identified….”

- “.. budget priority C: 0 – 40% of the amount foreseen…”

The most dramatic statement is that Geosciences are summarized as “global cooperation in thee ecological and geological sciences expanded”, but have been allocated the lowest possible rank, C! Geophysics is summarized under “risk reduction improvement, early warning of natural hazards strengthened and disaster preparedness and resilience enhanced”, and is rated B. (The Geosciences are in good company, with “human rights….” also ranked C !).

This endangers the Earth Science Section at UNESCO, given that it is stated that:

“Where the available resources make it impossible to maintain a critical mass of programme activity, the Director General shall make proposals as appropriate to: reallocate the resources to a higher budgetary priority”.

Collectively, these statements sound like the announcement of an end to the Earth sciences at UNESCO, which is currently the only non-governmental world organization including the geosciences. The need for Earth sciences representation in the world educational organization should be obvious.

As President of IUGS, I encourage all of you to take a personal look at the document 191 EX/Decisions (5 X/EX/DECISIONS) at the link: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/executive-board/documentation/documents-and-decisions/.

Please think about any steps you can take with the members of your national committee, UNESCO Ambassador or any member of the UNESCO Executive Board. If there is a chance to help the Earth Science Section to survive the next two years, it is imperative that we take action now to show that our science is still active, alive and, most importantly, needed in the future for providing natural resources for future generations in a socio-economic balance with humanity.

Attentive observers would have noted UNESCO’s progressive reduction of funding of IGCP, which has been a very successful joint IUGS-UNESCO program for over 40 years. Although IGCP was evaluated positively early this year it is endangered within UNESCO. IUGS alone is not able to fund and administer IGCP. It is my conviction that it is very important to continue this international, bottom-up science programme, which enables major collaborative research projects. It brings together scientists from industrialized and emerging countries, provides excellent international networking for young scientists and is instrumental in attracting additional research funds.

Several countries are intending to financially support the IGCP programme with dedicated funding through UNESCO. If such action is taken more widely, this would be of considerable assistance to the UNESCO Earth Science Section and the IGCP programme.


Roland Oberhänsli
(President, IUGS)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

12th European Geoparks Conference

(Cilento and Vallo di Diano Geopark, Italy; 4-7 september 2013)

Cilento and Vallo di Diano Geopark has the honor of hosting the 12th European Geoparks Conference, when the global development strategies of the Earth Sciences assume an important role in the world. The geo-hazards and climate change hardly affect all human activities and can strongly condition the future of humanity . Infact, life, property, economic and financial losses due to natural hazards and the impact of disasters on society have both increased dramatically over the last couple of decades. Scientists - both physical and social-, policy makers, insurance companies, disaster managers, and the public themselves, have different ways for understanding and studying natural geo-hazards.

The choice of the Conference location is not casually done. Infact, Ascea is a modern, touristic village surrounding the Archaeological Park of the  ancient Greek city “Elea”, renamed as “Velia” by the Romans,  one of the “cradle” of the western philosophy and civilization, by Parmenides and Zenone, recently named in UNESCO world heritage.
The long and complex Ascea-Velia-Elea history represents both the first cultural, social and economics global “network” in the ancient world and testify an actual “paradigm” of cohabitation between human society and geo-hazards. In fact, Since its foundation, the town experienced natural disaster due to landslides, inundations, earthquakes, probably tsunamy’s conditioning its social and economic development. Tradition tells us how Parmenide, as nature philosopher understood type and dynamics of local geohazards, as teacher raised public awareness and, finally, as politics maker suggested planning and design measures for natural risk mitigation.

This conference aims to:

1. verify how Geoparks can direct the scientific knowledge of the academic community on these items;
2. understand how the Geoparks address these issues in the educational system;
3. disseminate the role of Geoparks on the public awareness and sustainable use of natural resources.

See more at: