Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Agreement for Cooperation between IAEG and the IAPG

The IAEG - International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment and the IAPG have signed an Agreement for Cooperation on 25 March 2016. The aim of the agreement is to promote a co-ordinated policy for promoting initiatives and events discussing the ethical, social and cultural implications of engineering geology and favouring the adoption of ethical standards in the research and practice of geoscience community in order to better serving the Society.
The agreement expresses a mutual desire to co-operate on a range of themes in the field of Geoethics, in particular, the following issues:
  • promotion of principles of geoethics, research integrity and professional deontology in engineering geology activities among their networks;
  • definition of ethical problems, also through case-studies, affecting geoscience community and organizations;
  • co-organization of scientific events to disseminate concepts of geoethics, among both the professional and research communities, with particular attention to young engineering geologists;
  • production of relevant publications;
  • identification of possibilities to apply for the development of common projects on geoethics, research integrity and professional deontology.
The IAEG ( was founded in 1964 and is affiliated to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). IAEG is a worldwide scientific society with more than 5,200 members and 59 national groups. The official languages of the IAEG are English and French. The aims of the IAEG are 1) to promote and encourage the advancement of Engineering Geology through technological activities and research, 2) to improve teaching and training in Engineering Geology, and 3) to collect, evaluate and disseminate the results of engineering geological activities on a worldwide basis.

Read more about IAPG affiliations and agreements at:

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Peace is the way ...

Promoting Geoethics 
means to share and recognize common values 
that belongs to the mankind as a whole 
regardless of cultural and religious differences.

In this time of tragic events,
the IAPG wish you all an Easter full of peace and serenity.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A session on Citizen Science and Geoethics:
"From school and citizen seismology to geoethics"
Call for Abstracts
35th General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission

IAPG promotes the Session 04 "From school and citizen seismology to geoethics" at the 35th General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission, that takes place in Trieste (Italy) from 4 to 10 September 2016. The deadline for the abstract submission is 30 April 2016.

Rémy Bossu, Paul Denton, Paul Earle, Giuseppe Di Capua

Session description
Internet and social networks have multiplied the direct interactions between individual seismologists and citizens. Observational seismology has entered schools where they can detect signals from large global earthquakes and do real science with real data. Doing real science is one of the goals of citizen science projects alongside augmenting data collection and crowdsourcing observations on earthquake phenomena. Today there is a convergence between scientific and educational seismology projects. Many institutes and individual scientists are active on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Smartphone apps are replacing websites as the main source of rapid earthquake information.

Piazza Unità d'Italia, Trieste
Communication has also expanded from rapid information to time evolving hazard, risk and even operational earthquake forecasts. These developments change the way we, as scientists interact with society. They present significant opportunities to transfer the value of scientific research to citizens, in order to avoid or minimize risky interaction as demonstrated by the l’Aquila trial.

We invite papers on schools, citizen science or public communications initiatives as well as analysis of their ethical, social and cultural implications.

How to submit an abstract:

7 May 2016

Congress website:

Monday, March 21, 2016

The IAPG section of Nepal

Welcome to the IAPG section of Nepal! 

The section will work under the responsibility of Shree Prasad VistaSenior Scientist at the Soil Science Division of the Nepal Agricultural Research Council, and Secretary General of the Nepalese Society of Soil Science.

Shree Prasad Vista

Other IAPG national sections:

Friday, March 18, 2016

A need to re-define “Human Geology” from a geoethical point of view

by Ndzishepngong Kelvin Ngwang*
Ndzishepngong Kelvin Ngwang

Geo-Environmental Resource Association (GERAS) 
Coordinator of IAPG-Cameroon 

Picture at the top: Hong Kong, by James Gould-Bourn (from

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this paper solemnly engage the author

After reading the post on the Blog GeoPolicy [1], I started to reflect on direct relationships between human beings and the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and the biosphere. This led me to think about "Human Geology" which is an expression I have hardly come across during geosciences research.
A google search of the expression "human geology" led me to some definitions beyond my expectations.
On the Journal of Socialomics [2], human geology is defined as "... one of the two major branches of geography and it is often called cultural geography".
The Blog Geology in Art [3] talks about human spaces and human minds as geological places. The following two definitions of "Human Geology" are given there:
  • Human geology could be the set of human processes resembling sedimentation. In a certain sense, cities are "human geologies".
  • Human geology could also refer to the structural organization of the mind. In other words, human geology is the geology inside, as expressed by the intricate structure of the human mind (and brain).
Another post at website Serendip Studio [4] on human geology compares the responses to different levels of stress of the earth and the human body.
From the above mentioned approaches and definitions, I feel that a less value has been considered for the expression "Human Geology" than it might be. "Human geology" can be valorized as an expression linked to the "Anthropocene" concept.
From my point of view, "human geology" should be connected to the direct interaction of human beings with the geosphere, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and the biosphere. It should highlight the physical and chemical transformation of these spheres due to the actions of human beings and the direct impacts of the modifications of these spheres on human beings. The modification of these spheres can either be due to human beings themselves, or to other living beings or natural processes in general. 
Human geology should also highlight the positive and negative impacts of these interactions; the adaptation and mitigation measures towards the negative impacts; and the promotion of the positive impacts. 
The differences and similarities between human geology and environmental geology should be clarified. For example, if landslides and floods occur, the human geology component should be the number of people directly affected through deaths and injuries; meanwhile the modification of the slopes, erosion of the river beds, deposition of eroded and displaced earth material constitutes the environmental geology component; moreover, we have the economic, cultural and social components that also have to be distinguished.
Emerging concepts like "Urban Geology" should be also included in the discussion and further debates in order to valorize "Human geology" as an essential aspect if we look at the Earth in a geoethical perspective.


[1] GeoPolicy: Assessing environmental and social impact – applying policy in big industry: (Accessed on 14 March 2016).
[2] Journal of Socialomics: Human Geology, list of high impact articles: (Accessed on 14 March 2016).
[3] Human Geology: (Accessed on 14 March 2016).
[4] Human Geology: (Accessed on 14 March 2016).

*About the Author:
Ndzishepngong Kelvin Ngwang is a Cameroonian geoscientist, holder of a Master of Sciences (MSc) in Earth Sciences from the University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon. His MSc thesis was on Environmental Geology with focus on landslides. He has work experience with the Cameroon’s Ministry of Mines, Industry and Technological Development (MINMIDT) and a broad knowledge on the management of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). His career development goals are focused on leadership, strategic planning and organizational development, project management, capacity building, communication, and fundraising. His career interests are Mining, Environment and Sustainable Development, Geoethics, Scientific research, Administration, and consultancy services. He is the National Coordinator of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG) – Cameroon Section; and one of the alumni of the Minerals and Energy for Development Alliance (MEfDA).

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Geoethics: more important than ever because of the climate change

by Jonathan Gómez Cantero
Jonathan Gomez Cantero

Geographer, climatologist, master in Planning and Management of Natural Hazards 
IAPG-Young Scientist Club 

Picture at the top: Flooded Mekong, by Anna Lourantou (distributed via

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this paper solemnly engage the author

Without any doubt, Geoethics is increasingly gaining acceptance among other geoscientific fields and each day, more and more people are accepting the Geoethical Promise in order to take a responsible stand on the environment, people’s safety, sustainability.
It’s beyond doubt that even the best scientists must have an ethical attitude at work.
In a few years, climate change will highlight malpractice and will expose those works that haven’t been done properly. For instance, when discussing about floods, it is well known that some areas of the planet will increase their propensity to be flooded.
In those places where the precautionary, sustainability or safety principle won’t have been applied, many irresponsible attitudes regarding the environment will come to light.
Acting against soil erosion
(Credit: by Irene Angeluccetti,
distributed via
The situation to which climate change leads us due to temperature rises, droughts, floods, the collapse of biodiversity, more extreme weather events makes more necessary than ever to adopt an ethical stand in those territories, since the consequences of not acting in an ethical way could be extremely harmful for the nature as well as for the human being.
Land management will have to take into account the changes in some return periods of phenomena, the use of the natural resources will have to be reasoned and the protection of nature will have to be as effective as possible.
An ethical perspective in geoscientific works (geography, geology, environmental sciences, engineering) will be valued in the future, and if not achieved, the situations expected from the climate change will unveil everything that hasn’t been done appropriately.
Unfortunately, we have already seen dozens of cases in which a vulnerable location and a land mismanagement have provoked the lost of lives or caused a significant damage to the environment and infrastructures; we must all collaborate to prevent this from happening.
The Paris Convention on Climate Change (COP21) would have also to discuss this issue, that surely will be crucial in the future. The best measures of adaptation and mitigation of the climate change could start by developing a geoethical attitude and let’s hope that in the following climate summits this will be a topic to tackle that helps in raising awareness and mitigating future damages.


At the top: Flooded Mekong - Mekong river flooded in Cambodia, october 2011 (Credit: Anna Lourantou, distributed via

In the middle: Acting against soil erosion - Group photo after the completion of a gabion check dam (traitement de ravine in french). While the techniques of soil and water conservation are relatively widespread in the northern regions of Burkina Faso they are misknown in the South where the effects of both climate change and human pressure are becoming visible (Credit: Irene Angeluccetti, distributed via

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Geoethics: great news from Morocco!

Celebration of DESAME 2016 in Morocco – The Day of Earth Sciences in Africa and the Middle East. Theme of this year: Geoethics, Geoheritage, Georesources and Geoenvironment. Activities take place at the Université Chouaib Doukkali (El Jadida) on 17, 19 and 21 March 2016. In particular, we point out the following events:

On 17 March 2016, from 16:00 to 18:00, conference of Ezzoura Errami, President of the African Association of Women in Geosciences (AAWG), and Continental Coordinator for Africa of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG). Ezzoura gives a speech titled: "Earth Sciences serving society".

On 21 March 2016, conference of Boumediene Tanouti, past President of the Université Chouaib Doukkali – El Jadida. He gives a speech titled: "Science and Ethics: a conflictual relationship", followed by a debate about the creation of a reflection group on Geoethics, as a joint initiative AAWG, IAPG and AGN (African Geoparks Network).

Thanks to Ezzoura Errami for the organization of these important events and initiatives in Morocco.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Teaching Geoethics and Resilience at school.
An educational experiment in Aiello Calabro, southern Italy

by Francesco De Pascale
Francesco De Pascale

PhD in Geography and Earth Sciences, 
University of Calabria (Italy)
IAPG-Young Scientist Club 

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this paper solemnly engage the author

The debate on geoethics has widened in recent years in the context of environmental and climate protection and the resilience has become a key concept even within this new discipline, which has many common interest points with the geography. The analysis of the resilience is often concerned with the ability to restore the equilibrium conditions of a system affected by highly critical events, such as natural and man-made disasters. In collaboration with geological analyses and the geography of risk, geoethics forms an important component to inform the population and to further develop integrated risk management approaches that can enhance the resilience of communities.
This work aims at investigating the ability of humans to turn a potentially critical event in an occasion of growth, by converting that stressful event in a path of personal reconstruction. The experiment starts from the belief that there is a close relationship between high levels of resilience and adequate perception of a risky situation, such as that of an earthquake. The goal of this study is to deepen our knowledge on the relationship that may exist, for primary and secondary school children, between resilience and a coping style leading to appropriate management of seismic risk.
More precisely, it is desired to verify the existence of any link between a good/appropriate resilience and a good/appropriate risk management. Therefore, a survey was conducted with the following objectives:

  • To bring out the knowledge actually possessed by the children on geoethics and terminology specific to the earthquake, and their perceptions related to earthquakes.
  • To compare the knowledge and opinions of children on seismic phenomena in order to eventually highlight differences or similarities that may occur between the primary and secondary schools' children.
  • To use the data collected as information to design and implement new activities and new information tools aiming at improving the activities of seismic prevention, so that they are better targeted and tailored to the needs and expectations of young people, and the population as a whole.

The survey was conducted at the primary school of Aiello Calabro (Calabria, Southern Italy), as part of the PON project (National Operational Programmes, “We improve our skills: Educational program on native language communication”) with 14 children, and at the secondary school, with 7 children. 
Prior to the administration of questionnaires, classroom lectures on the principles of geoethics  and on the correct behaviour to adopt in case of an earthquake were delivered. They were followed by a discussion on the effects and causes of the disastrous earthquake that occurred in Nepal on the 25th of April 2015.
The first questionnaire focused on the topic of resilience and consisted in 15 five-points Likert scale questions ( The second questionnaire consisted in 27 questions of mixed nature. Seven questions dealt with Geoethics (six multiple-choice questions with single answer requested and one open-ended question).  The other 18 questions referred to the perception of seismic  risk as well as to behaviour and reactions during and after the quake (multiple-choice questions with single answer requested or multiple answers allowed). An open-ended question allowed the children to describe their experience of an earthquake. The last question consisted in the design of a mental map on an imaginary earthquake that would occur while the student is in class with her/his peers and the teacher, or when the student is at home.
In the context of this blog post, the author will focus on the geoethical questions. To the question 1, "What is geoethics?" only 36% of primary school students gave the right answer, which is "it consists in the investigation and reflection on values and principles that should guide actions and appropriate behaviour towards the geosphere". In the secondary school, 57% of the students chose the correct answer.
The question 2 "Geoethics is about...", 86% of primary school children gave the right answer (“Ethics of Earth Sciences”), along with 71% of secondary school students.
79% of primary school children and 86% of secondary school students chose the right answer ("Geosciences, Philosophy, Sociology and Geography") to the question 3: "Geoethics represents the meeting point between ...".
The same percentages (79% and 86%) of children of primary and secondary school think that "the intervention of the geologist in the Earth system has important similarities with the role of the physician towards the patient" (question 4).
To the question 5 "Geoethics is characterized by ...", 29% of children of primary school chose the answers A) "the fact of studying the Earth" and B) "the fact that  it deals only with natural phenomena", while 42% chose the answer C) "for its interdisciplinarity". 57% of secondary school students chose answer A and 43% the answer C. We may consider answer A adequate, answer B inadequate and answer C excellent, because geoethics is mainly characterized by its interdisciplinary approach, along with the geography.
As for the Question 6 (multiple choice), "Among other issues, geoethics also deals with...", 36% of primary school children opted for the answer A) "pollution and waste problems, greenhouse effect and climate change" and 14% answered C) "the promotion of correct information about hazards and risks of the territory, the promotion of the development of environmentally friendly technologies", both answers considered as adequate. Inadequate, instead, was the answer B) "Biology and chemistry", chosen by 29% of children of primary. All secondary students chose answer A, and 57% also answered C.
To the question 7, only 36% of children of primary school chose the right combination of words to be included in the Hippocratic Triangle, while all secondary students chose the right combination (Physician / Geoscientist – Illness / Planet Illness – Patient / Society / Humankind) (Matteucci et al. 2012).
Regarding the topic of resilience, the obtained results allow to divide the primary school children into three groups: those who have obtained a score from 1 to 25 fall within the range of "minimum resilience", children who have achieved a score from 26 to 50 fall within the range of "average resilience" and finally, children who have obtained a score from 51 to 75 fall within the range of the "maximum resilience". No one presented a minimum level of resilience. 86% of primary and secondary school's children fall within the range of "maximum resilience", while 14% are in the range of "average resilience". 
The scoring is done through a process that Rensis Likert called "simple method", which has become the standard in the numerical coding of opinions expressed on affirmations. 
These results show that the children have a good awareness of the importance of geoethics. During the frontal lesson, some intuitive children understood the connection between geoethics and correct behaviour to adopt in case of earthquake. In fact, geoethics promotes the support to the efficient management of emergencies, in order to protect the community from geological hazards during critical moments.
Most of the students involved in the survey confirmed the initial hypothesis of the survey, i.e. high levels of resilience correspond to high levels of risk management. By comparing the scores related to the resilience with those related to the risk management, a direct proportionality has been found. This result is in line with results already obtained by other researchers (Simone and Rocca, 2014), that verified the close links existing between being resilient and having an appropriate/good risk management. Therefore, the connections observed can be read substantially as a consequence of the fact that the resilience has a positive influence on the ability to manage traumatic events in a positive way, to reorganize positively their lives in front of difficulties and thus to perceive a risk (such as the one related to a seismic event) trying to find solutions and implementing appropriate behaviours for themselves and for others (such as by helping classmates in difficulty).


Matteucci R., Gosso G., Peppoloni S., Piacente S., Wasowski J. (2012). A Hippocratic Oath for geologists? Annals of Geophysics, 55 (3), pp. 365-369, doi:10.4401/ag-5650.

Simone G., Rocca L. (2014). La percezione del rischio sismico nei bambini, Ambiente Società Territorio. Geografia nelle scuole, 59, 6, pp. 26-32 (in Italian).

Figure captions
Figure at the top: A moment of the lesson during the PON project in primary school: the explanation of the Hippocratic Triangle
Figure in the middle: Mental map which represents the particular moment of confusion during the earthquake. The map is drawn by a student of the secondary school.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A new book by the IAPG-Greece coordinator

A new book on a topic that has important geoethical implications:
2015, p. 290, Elsevier, ISBN 978-0-12-420224-5.

This book "Provides a much-needed synopsis of tsunami history, generation causes, hazard assessment, early warning issues and risk mitigation in the European-Mediterranean region with global comparisons, making this a universally relevant reference."

Gerassimos Papadopoulos is the coordinator of IAPG-Greece.

Read more about this book:

Other publications in the IAPG website:

Monday, March 7, 2016

New IAPG session:
"Geoethics: a new way of thinking and practicing geosciences"
Call for Abstracts
88th National Congress of the Italian Geological Society

IAPG-Italy - Section of Geoethics and Geological Culture of the Italian Geological Society proposes the session "P46 - Geoethics: a new way of thinking and practicing geosciences" at the 88th National Congress of the Italian Geological Society, that takes place in Naples (Italy) from 7 to 9 September 2016. The deadline for the abstract submission is 15 May 2016.
Below, information about the IAPG session P46 on geoethics:

In recent years the interest in the ethical issues related to geological activities has grown fast. More and more geoscientists reflect on the role that they can play in society, on their responsibility in making decisions on the territory that may have an impact on the natural, social and economic balances.

Naples and Mt Vesuvius 
Geoethics represents a point of intersection for geosciences, sociology, philosophy and economics, dealing with the ethical, social, economic and cultural implications of Earth Sciences education, research and practice. 

Geoethics focuses on some of the most important environmental matters, such as the georisks management, communication and mitigation, the use of geo-resources, the correct dissemination of the geological knowledge, the improvement of the relationships between geological community, politicians, mass media and the public. It aims to organize effective tools to develop awareness, values and responsibility about the Earth processes and resources within the society, even through the enhancement of geoparks and geo-tourism, and the promotion of values such as geoheritage and geodiversity, also highlighting the usefulness of the geological knowledge in daily life, by promoting disciplines like geo-medicine and forensic geosciences. 

The conveners invite abstracts on both practical and theoretical aspects of Geoethics, including case studies. The session is promoted by the Italian section of the IAPG -€International Association for Promoting Geoethics ( - Sezione di Geoetica e Cultura Geologica della Società Geologica Italiana (

Stefano Tinti (Università di Bologna,, Francesco De Pascale (Università della Calabria,, Sabina Di Franco (CNR-IIA Roma,, Alessandra Magagna (Università di Torino,, Silvia Peppoloni (INGV-Roma2,


How to submit an abstract:

Submit an abstract:

31 May 2016

Congress website: