Thursday, February 23, 2017


New paper:
Stewart I.S. and Gill J.C. (2017)
Social geology — integrating sustainability concepts into Earth sciences
Proc. Geol. Assoc.,

Read the full paper or download the pdf file at:

Most geologists would argue that geoscientific knowledge, experience, and guidance is critical for addressing many of society’s most acute environmental challenges, yet few geologists are directly engaged in current discourses around sustainable development. That is surprising given that several attributes make modern geoscience well placed to make critical contributions to contemporary sustainability thinking. Here, we argue that if geoscientists are to make our know-how relevant to sustainability science, two aspects seem clear. Firstly, the geoscience community needs to substantially broaden its constituency, not only forging interdisciplinary links with other environmental disciplines but also drawing from the human and behavioral sciences. Secondly, the principles and practices of ‘sustainability’ need to be explicitly integrated into geoscience education, training and continued professional development.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Picture credit: from the paper

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ethics and Fracking

by Stephen Crittenden
Stephen Crittenden

Independent consultant - TEFL and Geoscience

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

Picture credit:

As a geologist in the oil and gas exploration industry for over forty years I have had many opportunities to work with unconventional gas and oil targets: coal, organic rich shales and low permeability rocks (Carboniferous to Tertiary) in the Middle East, Far East and Europe. Colleagues and I have published articles in academia and have written many reports for clients including lacustrine source rocks (eg Cole and Crittenden, 1997)

I have compiled a few paragraphs that are pertinent to all of us in the Oil and Gas industry. I have worked in the industry and it has put food on the table for my family and me and provided energy, warmth and clothing and has in general given us a "good life". I have worldwide seen a lot of rocks, a lot of fossils and a lot of oil and gas and in general most people I have lived with and worked with have been caring, responsible and decent human beings both rich and poor. I have witnessed exemplary Corporate Social responsibility ..... But, I have also seen with my own eyes some "bad practices" both deliberate and accidental (avoidable) and some due to ignorance. In the world today Oil and Gas explorers and producers more often than not suffer negative publicity for, in my opinion, three main reasons.

1) The lack of clarity in explaining to the public what it is we actually do, why we do-it, where we do-it and how we do-it and what are the risks to people, infrastructure and the environment. Energy is required by all and energy poverty (and of course energy greed) is the cause of most of the woes suffered by human-kind in this world. Never-the-less our current world since the mid 19th century from a human perspective is driven by oil and gas; not just for energy but for a vast range of products that keeps our global economy and society alive and functioning. In fact we should say "all that we do is for you" ...... with addenda reflecting the attitude of normal business sense "as long as we make money" with "no damage to people, infrastructure and the environment" plus "safe job analyses" and "risk assessments" and as an industry "we mean what we say".

Attempts for clarity in explanations of "fracking" have been made but invariably most suffer from the use of undefined terminology and of "jargon" that is not understood by the general public. A lack of clarity leads the general reader to not just a lack of a full understanding but in many cases to a false understanding; getting it wrong, and often called in colloquial English language as "grasping the wrong end of the stick". In addition the situation is further confused and clouded by some well-meaning celebrities, some self serving politicians (local and national), organisations and journalists all jumping upon controversy bandwagons in order to blow their own ( often misinterpretations and misunderstandings) out-of-tune trumpets.

(For an explanation of the "stick" metaphor please refer to google for the many and varied references and understandings / misunderstandings of the etymology and meaning for the phrase. Thus, my point regarding clarification of terminology has been made!).

This leads to my second point:

2) For most of us ethics and compliance at work is not lip-service ( is that jargon?) and Corporate Social Responsibility is a reality. However, am I being too cynical if I make the observation that "Corporate Ethics and Compliance" is an industry in itself to provide a form of Corporate Protection smokescreen? I have worked for numerous companies and in the last ten years have noticed that their Ethics and Compliance Programmes are almost identical: a product of "cut and paste" from a common provider with little attempt at tailoring to a specific company's specific needs.. An Ethics and Compliance Programme within organisations is commonplace but far too often is regarded as a necessary annual one day (one hour?) diversion from the established norms of the business. Indeed in my experience employees display a corporate mistrust as most are in agreement that an ethical workplace and company is more than just a compliance programme completed "on-line". The highest ethical standards must be the norm throughout the company hierarchy and anything less should not be tolerated.

3) Poor Corporate Communication (coupled perhaps with public perceived corporate greed and lack of corporate ethics) with the general public has generated a lack of respect and a profound cynical distrust by the general public of all actions and statements by the Oil and Gas Industry and some local and national regulatory authorities. In the past (and indeed in the present) the Oil and Gas industry has suffered a poor reputation summarised as; "rape and pillage", environmental destruction, pollution and greed. This infamy (excused initially as a result of corporate ignorance, but nowadays that is no excuse) has with hindsight been well deserved but such infamy has not been the monopoly of the Oil and Gas Industry. Industry (and humanity) as a whole also fully deserves such a poor reputation. This stems from "destructive" practices established in pre-classical and classical times (eg prehistoric forest clearance, mining, quarrying, over-hunting, soil erosion and so-on) in addition to those established throughout subsequent history, the Industrial Revolution and up to the present day (eg poor agricultural practice, over fishing, colonialisation, globalisation, pollution of air, rivers, sea and land, war and ethnic cleansing / genocide), with little thought given to the consequences for humanity and the planet as a whole - nature. Woody Guthrie in his book "Bound for Glory" describes the Boom Towns of the oil field early days in the USA - the pollution, the riches and the poverty - he was one of the boom town rats.

One does not have to hazard a guess why the area in the midlands of the United Kingdom where the Industrial Revolution was born in the early 18th century is called the "Black Country". Equally one only has to consider the current pipeline ethical controversy in the USA (Dakota), the current pollution situation in the oil fields of the Niger Delta onshore, and the massive pollution caused by the Macondo disaster to realise that throughout human history while there has been over time change for the better, bad practice does persist - the common denominator is human greed.

It is no wonder that "fracking" within unconventional oil and gas exploration and "normal" production onshore is causing so much controversy within the general public. Oil and gas exploration and production is not without risk and is admitted but an operation correctly conducted has (and indeed must have) strategies in place that are designed to mitigate any risk to almost zero or to an acceptable (?) level. This simple concept needs to be explained openly and honestly to the general public. It is indeed ironic that most protesters do not fully understand the basic science, technology and engineering used in the Oil and Gas Industry for fracking practices; the subjects of their protest. However, to site a fracking zone beneath a Nuclear Power Station does not make good sense

My very simple explanation (KISS - google it) of what is "unconventional oil and natural gas and fracking" is as follows. (The ethics behind it I will not discuss. These concepts have been gleaned from numerous reports from various legislative authorities).

tight oil and gas: oil and natural gas found in low-permeability rock, including sandstones, siltstones, and carbonates.
shale oil and shale gas: oil and natural gas locked in fine-grained, organic-rich rocks - potential source rocks.
coalbed methane (CBM): natural gas contained in coal seams.
To allow it to move through rock to a well and to be pumped to the surface, hydraulic fracturing is used to crack the rock to create permeability flow paths. The fracturing (“fracking”) is achieved by pumping fluid into a well bore to create enough pressure to crack the rock layer. The pumped fluid usually contains a “proppant,” like sand, that helps keep the fractures open when the pumping pressure is released, to allow oil and gas to be produced to the well. To produce unconventional oil and natural gas, multiple horizontal wells (many drilled from a single pad) and multi-zone fracturing are used. These wells are started by drilling vertically (straight down) and then steering the drill bit so that it drills "horizontally" through the desired formation. The formations being targeted are often hundreds to thousands of metres below ground / seabed level and well below any usable groundwater aquifers and a good distance from natural fracture and fault zones. Horizontal well drilling and reservoir hydraulic fracturing has been used for decades in normal field development (eg Valhall Field offshore Norway - tight chalk), Improvements have made it possible to use these techniques to develop the flow of oil and natural gas out of fine grained low permeability rocks.

The hydraulic fracturing fluids used must be non toxic and the chemical additives and water contents of the fluids and the source and volume used recorded accurately in the daily record of operations for any well. The key is the protection of groundwater and surface water resources. Wells are designed (including a geomechanics and pore pressure study) with a full set of steel casing (total depth to surface) with a full cementing plan for the well bore annulus that will act as a barrier and prevent any hydraulic fracturing fluid regardless of whether or not it contains toxic chemicals, and the produced salt water and oil and gas from entering the penetrated rock formations and mixing with groundwater or surface water . Produced fluids that are returned to surface, such as oil and gas, hydraulic fracturing fluid and salt water from the producing rock formation, are monitored, separated, handled, stored, and disposed of under strict regulations. No fluids, including those that have been treated, should ever be allowed to be released into a natural water body. Unlined storage pits should never be used to store fluids produced from fracturing operations. All fluids that cannot be recycled or reused must be re-injected and stored in rock formations deep underground, far below groundwater sources.

Any vertical fractures that result from hydraulic fracturing are mostly in the range of tens of metres and rarely up to 200 metres. It is therefore extremely unlikely that correctly placed fractures in a correctly placed well bore could impact groundwater. No shallow hydraulic fracturing operations should be allowed, and the the borehole should never be close to any water wells.

Induced seismicity refers to earthquakes (ie seismic events) resulting from human activity. Typically, these earthquake events are low in magnitude and are rarely felt at the surface. Historically, earthquake events have been associated with coal mining, salt mining, oil and gas extraction activities and deep well disposal of waste-water. The evidence is very obvious in the salt mining and coal mining districts of the UK, in Kuwait and in the area above the Groningen Gas Field in the Netherlands, Hydraulic fracturing has been linked as a possible cause of earthquakes in North America.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Monday, February 20, 2017

Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology
by Vince Cronin (IAPG-USA co-coordinator)

The 11th edition of the AGI/NAGT Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology is now in print, reports its editor and IAPG-USA co-coordinator, Vince Cronin. 

Income from the sale of this laboratory manual is used to help support the work of the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT).

The new edition incorporates work from 38 authors who contributed to earlier editions, most recently under the editorial leadership of Richard Busch. The new edition is based on current developments in geoscience and geoscience education, publisher research by Pearson, and expert reviews of the previous edition by 47 representatives of AGI member societies. An editorial panel from NAGT and 15 individual geoscience reviewers helped in the process of developing the new 11th edition, in association with an experienced team from Pearson.

The text of the lab manual has been extensively revised. Approximately 188 new photographs, 100 new figures, and more than 80 revised figures in the new 11th edition are spread over 16 chapters that feature 96 activities, including 12 new activities. All of the 148 new photos that Cronin supplied as editor will be available for educational use through the AGI Earth Science World Image Bank ( An awareness of geoethics is a recurring theme in the new edition.

Advance copies are now available:

Vincent S. Cronin (editor) and Dennis Tasa (illustrator), 2017, Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology: New York, New York, Pearson Education Inc.,, ISBN 10: 0-13-444660-7, ISBN 13: 978-0-13-444660-8, 426 p.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

EFG and the UNECE gather international experts 
to discuss cooperation on natural resources

EFG PRESS RELEASE | 10 February 2017 | Brussels 

The European Federation of Geologists (EFG) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) co-organised, from 9 to 10 February 2017, the conference "International cooperation on natural resources: geoscientists' contribution to enhanced governance, policy making and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals". The event was held at the Royal Belgium Institute of Natural Sciences, a venue located only a few hundred meters away from the European Parliament, and was supported by a broad range of European and international organisations. Nearly 100 participants from across Europe and abroad attended the event whose international character was also displayed through a broad geographical representation on a programme conveying views from Europe, South Africa, the United States of America and Canada.

The continuing rise in global population and living standards, as well as technological innovation, is increasing global demand for energy and minerals with consequent requirements for a broader and more diversified range of natural resources, including conventional fossil or nuclear fuels and renewable energy. Therefore, a transparent and consistent estimation and classification methodology for mineral and renewable energy resources is vital to support international and national resources management and forecasting and to advance global cooperation. In this context, the aim of the conference was to contribute to the creation of a solid European Knowledge Database on mineral and energy resources by fostering the convergence of terminology and the comparability of data. During two days, almost 30 speakers - representing relevant UNECE and European policy areas, as well as international and European regulatory authorities, industries, non-governmental organisations and academia - discussed a transparent and harmonised European classification framework and the possibility for such framework to be based on the United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC).

The first day of the conference was dedicated to underlining the importance of international cooperation on raw materials. Vladimir Šucha, Director General of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), opened the conference by reminding the audience that a common framework was mandatory to allow a sustainable management of resources, necessary condition for the creation of more jobs and growth within Europe. He expressed the European Commission’s support to the UN framework classification covering all energy resources, and particularly renewables, all minerals and biotics. David MacDonald, current chair of the Bureau of the Expert Group on Resource Classification of the UNECE, followed up on Vladimir Šucha's point on the role of a common framework: "You need a balanced and sustainable development of all energy resources, as energy is the key to attaining all Sustainable Development Goals. And this sustainable development relies critically on measurement." According to David MacDonald, the UNFC is a common framework that has potential for application in Europe, as it serves as an umbrella of multiple classification systems that allows all disciplines to speak a common language. Following David MacDonald, Marie Donnelly, Director for Renewable Energy at the Europe Commission's DG Energy, insisted that scientists and industry members, in their collaboration, should not forget the consumer and his need for a better understanding and a more active role. Ending the first session of the day, Mattia Pellegrini, Head of Unit for the DG Growth at the European Commission, underlined the importance of raw material diplomacy, and the many achievements of the European Commission in its international relations.

The second session of the first day was dedicated to a panel of experts who debated on the importance of excellence in the use of natural resources classification systems in management and reporting. High-level speakers from the European Commission, the UNECE, CRIRSCO, PERC, Geoscientists Canada and the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) insisted on the importance of international dialogue in times when nationalism and protectionism are rising. In this regard, it was emphasised that public outreach, transparency and the development of a common language are becoming ever more important. The different experts also insisted on the main qualities of the reporters' profiles: competence, experience and constant training. 
On the second day of the conference, representatives from industry and EFG’s expert groups analysed the application of the UNFC reporting standard to the field of oil and gas, CO2 geological storage, minerals and – since 2016 – to the field of geothermal energy. The importance of UNFC as an umbrella classification system providing a common language applicable to the different sectors of natural resources was underlined. Roger Dixon, South African representative on the Committee for Mineral Reserve International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO) outlined the synergies between the UNFC-2009 standard and the CRIRSCO International Reporting Template, demonstrating how the Mineralised Inventory can be managed using UNFC.

The conference closed with a panel discussion on socio-economic and environmental drivers for natural resources development and management. Alex Nwegbu, President of the Organisation of African Geological Societies (OAGS), presented his institution's views on sustainable management of mineral resources in Africa. Other high-level speakers underlined that Development Minerals should be part of Africa's industrialisation and that artisanal mining represents the majority of mining in Africa. The panel agreed that education, skill development and best practice schemes are key to link the exploitation of natural resources to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and that geoscientists can play a progressive role in this respect.   
Martin Bohle, Advisor to the Deputy Director-General at the European Commission's DG Research and Innovation and Corresponding Citizen Scientist of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics, officially closed the conference stressing the importance of public outreach and transparency.

Read the Press Release in the EFG website:

Photogallery of this event at:

About EFG: The European Federation of Geologists is a non-governmental organisation that was established in 1980 and includes today 25 national association members. EFG is a professional organisation whose main aims are to contribute to a safer and more sustainable use of the natural environment, to protect and inform the public and to promote a more responsible exploitation of natural resources. EFG’s members are National Associations whose principal objectives are based in similar aims. The guidelines to achieve these aims are the promotion of excellence in the application of geology and the creation of public awareness of the importance of geoscience for the society. 

About UNECE: The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was set up in 1947 by ECOSOC. It is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations. UNECE's major aim is to promote pan-European economic integration. UNECE includes 56 member States in Europe, North America and Asia. However, all interested United Nations member States may participate in the work of UNECE. Over 70 international professional organizations and other non-governmental organizations take part in UNECE activities. 

This event has been supported by the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRISCO), the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE), EuroGeoSurveys, the Geological Society of Africa (GSAf), the Pan European Mineral Reserves and Resources Reporting Committee (PERC) and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. 

More information about EFG and UNECE: and

Media contact: 
EFG Executive Director Isabel Fernández Fuentes ( and EFG Communication Officer Anita Stein (

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


New paper:
Bobrowsky P., V.S. Cronin, G. Di Capua, S.W. Kieffer, S. Peppoloni (2017). 

In: Scientific Integrity and Ethics with Applications to the Geosciences, edited by L.C. Gundersen. Special Publication American Geophysical Union, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Read the full paper (pdf file) at:

The geosciences need practitioners who possess an ethical conscience and the desire to act responsibly. Ethically responsible geoscientists will achieve success and satisfaction by carrying out excellent research and professional activities, and by maintaining honest and open collaborations with colleagues. Such individuals will be able to contribute to building a resilient society, be better prepared to face global economic and environmental challenges and be willing to take concrete actions for the conservation of the geo- environment. Geoethics provides ethical, social, and cultural values for the scientific community and for society as a whole. Geoethics represents a new vision of a world in which it is possible to maintain a more balanced relationship between humans and nature, considering modern economic and social development expectations. This chapter illustrates some aspects of geoethics, provides an overview of its basic values and themes, and highlights prominent global issues that involve geoethics, including climate change, geo-risks, land management, exploitation of geo-resources, and sustainability. The International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG) provides a multidisciplinary platform for discussion, a place where multidisciplinary collaboration can strengthen the development of geoethics from a scientific and philosophical perspective, in order to better introduce geoethical values into society.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Picture credit:

Monday, February 13, 2017

Free video lesson on Geoethics in Disaster Risk Reduction

A video lesson by Silvia Peppoloni, Secretary General of IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics, on "GEOETHICS IN DISASTER RISK REDUCTION" has been recently released.

The video is part of the online course (MOOC): "A Resilient Future: Science and Technology for Disaster Risk Reduction" (Discover how science and technology help us reduce disaster risk and increase resilience).

This free online course is organized by the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland).

The video is included in the Chapter 7: Science and Technology for Resilience and Sustainable Development - Ethics in Disaster Risk Reduction.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics is partner of the MOOC for the Chapter 7.

See the video here (13:22 minutes):

More information about the online course (MOOC) at:!

IAPG wishes to thank Marie Humair-Charrière, chair of the IAPG - Young Scientists Club, for the video recording and the involvement of the IAPG in this important course!

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Friday, February 10, 2017

IAPG is working to promote geoethics in Japan

IAPG in Japan supported a volunteers' conference, held on 28 January 2017 with students coming from several Japanese Universities, for the anniversary of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake.
Megumi Sugimoto

In this conference, Megumi Sugimoto, IAPG Representative in Japan, delivered a speech on geoethics and its meaning in supporting disaster areas and disaster prevention activities in order to mitigate effects of future earthquakes.
The conference got a favorable coverage in 4 medias:
NHK TV news, Saga newspaper, Mainichi daily news and Nishi-Nippon newspaper.

Moreover, IAPG supports the Future Earth symposium at Kyushu University (17-18 February 2017). Megumi Sugimoto will present geoethics and IAPG activities.

Download the Future Earth symposium poster (pdf file)

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

IAPG's Corresponding Citizen Scientists support European Federation of Geologists (EFG) at the EFG/UNECE conference

EFG/UNECE conference, that will be held in Brussels on 9-10 February 2017:

This week, the European Federation of Geologists (EFG) jointy with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) holds conference on "International cooperation on natural resources - geoscientists' contribution to enhanced governance, policy making and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals".

The conference is hosted by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.

The conference, supported by several professional geoscience organisations aims to contribute to the creation of a solid European Knowledge Database on mineral and energy resources, in view of "geoscientists's contribution to enhanced governance, policy making and attainment of Sustainable Development Goals".

The Corresponding Citizen Scientists of the IAPG (, Edmund Nickless and Martin Bohle, have the honour to participate at the panel session "Socio-economic and environmental drivers for natural resources development and management"(Friday, 10 February, 15:30). This panel composed of professionals from industries, international organisations and business organisations is moderated by Harikrishan Tulsidas (UNECE).

As outlined in the Cape Town Statement on Geoethics ( "...Geosciences have major impacts on the functioning and knowledge-base of modern societies. Geoscientists have specific knowledge and skills, which are required to investigate, manage and intervene in various components of the Earth system... by increasing researchers’ and practitioners’ awareness of the ethical implications of their work is it possible to develop excellent geoscience to serve society and to reduce the human impact on the environment...".

The IAPG appreciates that the EFG/UNECE conference put into practice these insights.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Monday, February 6, 2017

Geoethics and Nigeria’s developmental challenges

(published in Punch, on 26 January 2017)

by Greg Odogwu
Greg Odogwu

Member / IAPG-Nigeria

Picture credit:

Even if one tries to discard everything that the New Age Movement brought to contemporary civilisation, the one thing that still hits home with certainty is the perception that the Earth has a life of its own. In those days when the world was still giddy with excitement at the novel idea of the spirit-cum-psycho consciousness, a certain chemist, James Lovelock, scientifically organised the awareness in a proposition known as the Gaia Theory.

As a matter of fact, even those that are not given to religious proclivities would still acknowledge that it seems the Earth is paying humanity back for years of rape and disregard through rapid industrialisation without sustainability considerations. Climate change and global warming are with us as a sore nemesis; to survive would entail retracing our footsteps to where we lost basic geoethical senses in our pursuit for refined things.

And, while we delay, more havoc is being done right before us. Ironically, it is a developing country like ours that suffers it the most. Artisanal mining kills women and children through lead poisoning. Oil spillage in the Niger Delta destroys not only the farms, waters and livelihood of our poor compatriots, but ensures that the youths in the region totally lose hope in the future. Rapacious coal mining is a new threat in far-flung rural communities.

Surely, it seems everybody is ready to go up in flames with the ecosystem that God has given us for our nourishment. This is why the advent of Geoethics as a scientific discipline has become so auspicious.

Geoethics is an emerging subject. It consists of research and reflection on the values which underpin appropriate behaviours and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system. It deals with the ethical, social and cultural implications of geoscience knowledge, education, research and practice, providing a point of intersection for Geosciences, Sociology, Philosophy and Economy.

At the heart of Geoethics is Geosciences, because it is actually a geoscientific creation. However, in order to vividly understand what Geosciences is all about, I will like to describe it as the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, describes it on its website. "The Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth – always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. Research Focus. Future Energy and Resources. Healthy Urban Living. Water, Climate and Ecosystems."

Geoethics represents an opportunity for geoscientists to become more conscious of their social roles and responsibilities in conducting their activity. It is a tool to influence the awareness of society regarding problems related to geo-resources and geo-environment.

Geosciences have major impacts on the functioning and knowledge-base of modern societies. Geoscientists have specific knowledge and skills, which are required to investigate, manage and intervene in various components of the Earth system to support human life and well-being, to defend people against geo-hazards and to ensure natural resources are managed and used sustainably. This entails ethical obligations. Therefore, geoscientists must embrace ethical values in order best to serve the public good.

Geoethics therefore promotes a way of thinking and practising geosciences, within the wider context of the roles of geoscientists interacting with colleagues, society and the planet.

The International Association for Promoting Geoethics was born in 2012, during the 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane, Australia, from an idea conceived on April 2012 during the European Geosciences Union – General Assembly in Vienna. The IAPG is an international, scientific, multidisciplinary platform, created to widen the discussion on ethical issues related to the Geosciences. It is becoming an important space in which many geoscientists can share experiences, ideas, reflections and information on geoethical issues.

The IAPG was born to try to answer to the questions: How can we articulate the ethical criterion for geoscientists? How can the freedom of research and actions be combined with the principles of sustainability? Where should the line be drawn between preservation and economic development of the geosphere, especially in low-income countries? How can the relationships between geoscientists, media, politicians and citizens be made more profitable, particularly in the defence against natural hazards? What communication and educational strategies should be adopted to transfer the value of the geosciences to society?

The mission of the IAPG is to promote Geoethics values and principles through international cooperation, encouraging the involvement and debate of geoscientists, especially those belonging to less developed countries, and assuring a good coordination among these nations. It intends to foster the dissemination of Geoethics through a dedicated website, the publication of scientific papers, the organisation of meetings and sessions/symposia on Geoethics within national and international geoscientific events.

During the 35th International Geological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, (August 27 – September 4, 2016), a seminal document, known as, the "Cape Town Statement on Geoethics", was prepared. It reads in part:

"It is essential to enrich the roles and responsibilities of geoscientists towards communities and the environments in which they dwell, as well as paying attention to each scientist’s individual conscience and relationships with colleagues. Human communities will face great environmental challenges in the future. Geoscientists have know-how that is essential to orientate societies towards more sustainable practices in our conscious interactions with the Earth system. Applying a wider knowledge-base than natural sciences, geoscientists need to take multidisciplinary approaches to economic and environmental problems, embracing geo-ethical and social perspectives. Geoscientists are primarily at the service of society. This is the deeper purpose of their activity.
In the coming years, especially when addressing matters like energy supply, use of geo-resources, land management, pollution abatement, mitigation of geo-risks, and climate change adaptation and mitigation, ethical and social issues will be central in scientific discussion and in public debate. In addition, handling large quantities of data, science and risk communication, education strategies, issues of research integrity, anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, gender balance and inclusion of those living with disabilities will be major topics for geoscientists.
Raising the geoethical awareness and competences of the members of the geoscience community is essential, also to increase trust and credibility among the public. This can best be achieved in the near future by two means: by promoting more effectively existing guidance such as codes of ethics/conduct and research integrity statements; and by introducing geoethics into geoscience curricula, to make geoethics a basic feature of the training and professional activity of geoscientists."

Thankfully, the IAPG has a Nigerian office which has already shown remarkable presence.

My view is that there is no time to waste for Nigeria to partake in the "Geoethical Revolution" by domesticating its tenets and operations. The Nigerian branch of the IAPG has to quickly design people-oriented programmes aimed at grassroots participation in the promotion of risk assessment and prevention of potential hazards from resources exploitation. This is so that people at the grassroots could be able to identify geoethical breaches, and have a channel for reporting the same. The government would then have the capacity to respond to such threats.

Both the public and the private sectors need to understand Geoethics processes in order to safeguard our natural resources and prevent undue exploitation. They need to also locate Geoethics in the existing global sustainable agenda. But more importantly, it is the duty of all of us to ensure that we are able to cover the aspects of food security, environmental stewardship and gender issues in promoting Geoethics. These, I believe, touch the crux of our present challenges.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The prevention from natural risks: a (geo)ethical and cultural matter

Silvia Peppoloni
Silvia Peppoloni, IAPG Secretary General, will give an invited talk entitled "The prevention from natural risks: a (geo)ethical and cultural matter" on Saturday, 4 February 2017, at the XXI National Congress of the Italian Environment Fund (FAI).

Download the programme (in Italian) at:

Other events on Geoethics