Friday, March 16, 2018

The issue #1 - 2018 
of the IAPG Newsletter is out!

The issue #1 - 2018 of the Newsletter of the IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics has been released on 15 March 2018.


- Programme of the IAPG events at the EGU 2018
- RFG 2018 conference - news
- Calls for abstracts
- And the winners are… !!!
- IAPG report for IUGS on 2017 activities and 2018 plans
- Geoethical Promise - news
- White Paper on responsible Mining - news
- Publications
- Agreements
- National sections
- From the IAPG Blog
- Donations (support the IAPG)

Download the IAPG Newsletter #1 - 2018 at:

Kindly, share this post. Thank you.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Recently published:


by Margaret Brocx and Vic Semeniuk

Citation: Brocx M. and Semeniuk V. (2017). Impacts of Ports along the Pilbara Coast, Western Australia – A Coastline of Global Geoheritage Significance that Services a Mineral-Rich Hinterland, doi: 10.4401/ag-7495. In: Peppoloni S., Di Capua G., Bobrowsky P.T., Cronin V. (eds). Geoethics at the heart of all geosciences. Annals of Geophysics, Vol. 60, Fast Track 7.

Abstract: The Pilbara region in remote north-western Australia is mineral-rich with ores being mined/quarried and exported since the 1960s for the wealth of the Australian Nation and exported from a range of ports developed specifically for such purposes. However, the Pilbara Coast is one of few arid coasts around the World and the most arid coast in Australia - it stands unique as the most geomorphologically / geologically diverse arid coast globally and therefore has global coastal geoheritage significance. Ports along the Coast have been and continue to be developed without, or with little regard to their natural values, with impacts in terms of geoheritage and biological values - the parameters for port selection are based on engineering and economic perspectives of coastal proximity and coastal bathymetry in spite of information available for proper management and wise use of this coastal zone. Consequently, some significant coasts have been destroyed or markedly modified. With the intended growth of the mineral industry, there can be expected further destruction unless government agencies address the geoconservation issues but, in this context, there seems to be both a widespread lack of understanding on the part of government agencies of the geoheritage values of this Coast and a lack of geoethics. This contribution describes the natural heritage significance of the Pilbara Coast, the ports therein, their impacts and, from a geoethics viewpoint, the notion of centralizing ports rather than to indiscriminately construct facilities dictated by economic and port ownership. The Pilbara Coast provides a case study of geoethics where natural history assets of global significance conflict with industrial use.

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Recently published:


by Roberto Lencina

Citation: Lencina R. (2017). Social Responsibility: A New Challenge in Graduate University Education, doi: 10.4401/ag-7559. In: Peppoloni S., Di Capua G., Bobrowsky P.T., Cronin V. (eds). Geoethics at the heart of all geosciences. Annals of Geophysics, Vol. 60, Fast Track 7.

Abstract: The key for including ethics and social responsibility (SR) in the university curricula is the recognition that, in our world, academia has become a relevant place for the production of knowledge and the promotion of values that support the integration of economic, social and environmental aspects, in order to build a better society. universities have become institutions with technical-professional and ethical-social objec-tives, whose purpose is to add value to society and all its stakeholders. At the heart of this assertion there is the conviction that the RS of the university acts as a double bridge: firstly, as a link between ethics and wisdom, then, as a connection between wisdom and commitment to sustainability and social cohesion. The concept of SR, in its broadest sense, is perceived in university classrooms as an understandable abstraction imposed by reality itself. Even though it is not yet a formal subject of academic discussions, the truth is that daily professional practice, and the important social questions that practice raises, impose a new agenda in university curriculum design.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Recently published:


by Silvia Peppoloni and Giuseppe Di Capua

Citation: Peppoloni S. and Di Capua G. (2017). Ethics, pp. 1-5, doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-12127-7_115-1. In: Bobrowsky P.T. and Marker B. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology, Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series, Springer International Publishing, ISBN: 978-3-319-12127-7.

Definition of Ethics: In line with the concept proposed by Aristotle (384–322 BC), ethics reflects on the conduct of humans and the criteria with which to evaluate behaviors and choices in order to identify “true good” including the means to achieve this goal. It also addresses the moral duties of humans towards themselves and others, and what is the right thing to do when facing a
decision. Regarding the practice of a profession, ethics is the identification of duties and rights that regulate the professional activity (deontology) by members of a social group, who are characterized by the possession of specific technical-scientific knowledge, methods and tools for its application.
There are values that the human community accepts as universally representative of individual and social good, because of the universal character of the human species itself, such as honesty, justice, responsibility, respect for life, and the environment. However, depending on the cultural context, and considering time and place, the ways in which values are applied can change.
In the end, ethics concerns all humans, without distinction, and especially those who have major scientific, political, and social roles, and who certainly have to face issues of great ethical value.


IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Recently published:


by Héctor Luis Lacreu

Citation: Lacreu H.L. (2017). The Social Sense of Geological Literacy, doi: 10.4401/ag-7558. In: Peppoloni S., Di Capua G., Bobrowsky P.T., Cronin V. (eds). Geoethics at the heart of all geosciences. Annals of Geophysics, Vol. 60, Fast Track 7.

Abstract: Ways and methodologies to teach geology are widely debated and are frequent topics in geoscientific discussion, whereas there is much less attention to the subject of geological literacy.
It is more and more frequent to hear complaints by university teachers regarding the deficient geological knowledge of incoming university students, and this is especially the case in Argentina's universities. Teachers simply characterize the problem affirming: “the students do not know anything about geology” or “in high school nobody taught them geology”. Additionally, most geologists consider that it is not their problem and consider secondary teachers as uniquely responsible. Nevertheless, the matter is more complicated than this and deserves a different approach for resolution.
In this contribution I table reflections on the need to address the lack of preparation and the scarcity of geological knowledge in terms of geological literacy, rather than in terms of teaching geology..

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Recently published:


by Juan Carlos Gutiérrez-Marco, Artur Abreu Sá,
Diego C. García-Bellido, César A. Chacaltana

Citation: Gutiérrez-Marco J.C.,  A.A., García-Bellido D.C., Chacaltana C.A. (2017). Recent Geoethical Issues in Moroccan and Peruvian Paleontology, doi: 10.4401/ag-7475. in: Peppoloni S., Di Capua G., Bobrowsky P.T., Cronin V. (eds). Geoethics at the heart of all geosciences. Annals of Geophysics, Vol. 60, Fast Track 7.

Abstract: The cases of Joan Corbacho from Spain, and Klaus Hönninger and Carlos A. Vildoso from Peru, considered by some as prestigious paleontologists in their countries, are discussed here. The first one is a fossil collector and trader that, without a minimal scientific knowledge, published ca. 20 papers with proposals for a dozen new trilobite taxa coming from different Paleozoic formations in the Moroccan Anti-Atlas. Descriptions of new taxa seem formally valid but are rather inadequate, often based on poorly preserved material of dubious geological provenance, and mostly published as papers without peer review in a local journal, managed by a private museum connected to the Seminary of Barcelona. Besides this, part of the published and figured trilobite specimens were later offered for sale in the internet, sometimes accompanied with a ‘certificate of authenticity’ signed by the Museum director. Mr. Corbacho is acting also in Spain as a judicial expert in paleontology while he is not more than an amateur fossil collector. In Peru, the two cited pseudo-paleontologists lead their official-looking businesses, the ‘Meyer-Hönninger Palaeontological Museum’ and the ‘Peruvian Institute of Paleovertebrate Studies’, respectively, under names of institutional appearance. The ‘scientific research’ activities of Mr. Hönninger have been basically deactivated by authorities of the Ministry of Culture, and following a public complaint for fraud in the First International Symposium of Palaeontology of Peru held in 2014 in Lima. However, the dealings of the Mr. Vildoso, who has long claimed to have a title on Paleontology from the University of La Plata (Argentina), which he has never been able to show, has experienced a considerable increase, with paleontological heritage contracts with mining companies and the organization of the Dakar Rally. The prominence of the position he has attained is such that he was offered the presidency of the Organizing Committee of the IX Latin American Congress of Palaeontology held in 2016 in Lima, which has ended in an organization disaster and a money scandal.

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Friday, February 23, 2018

EGU 2018 General Assembly
Vienna (Austria), 8-13 April 2018

Programme of the IAPG events 
at EGU 2018

Session EOS4 

"Geoethics: ethical, social and cultural implications of geoscience knowledge, education, communication, research and practice

Convenership: Silvia Peppoloni, Nic Bilham, Martin Bohle, Giuseppe Di Capua, Eduardo Marone

  • Oral presentations: 12 April 2018, 08:30-12:00; Room L7
  • Poster presentations: 12 April 2018, 08:00-19:30, attendance 13:30-15:00; Hall X1

Abstracts and list of oral and poster presentations here:

Townhall Meeting TM11 

"Seeking Engagement and Input on Harassment and Workplace Climate Issues within the Geoscience Community"

Convenership: Silvia Peppoloni, Nicholas T. Arndt, Pranoti Asher, Vincent Cronin, Chloe Hill, Mary Anne Holmes, Christopher Keane, Chris McEntee

A joint event:
IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics
AGI - American Geosciences Institute
AGU - American Geophysical Union
EGU - European Geosciences Union

  • Oral presentations: 10 April 2018, 19:00–20:00; Room G2

Description and list of oral presentations here:

Splinter Meeting SMI28 (by invitations only)

"IAPG business meeting"

Convenership: Silvia Peppoloni, Giuseppe Di Capua

  • 11 April 2018, 15:30–17:00; Room 0.15

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Recently published:


(by Iain S. Stewart, Johanna Ickert, Robin Lacassin)

Citation: Stewart I.S., Ickert J., Lacassin R. (2017). Communicating Seismic Risk: the Geoethical Challenges of a People-Centred, Participatory Approach, doi: 10.4401/ag-7593. in: Peppoloni S., Di Capua G., Bobrowsky P.T., Cronin V. (eds). Geoethics at the heart of all geosciences. Annals of Geophysics, Vol. 60, Fast Track 7.

Abstract: The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) encourages scientists to participate in bottom-up risk communication approaches that directly engage hazard-prone populations. Effective communication of seismic risks not only has economic impacts in terms of hazard mitigation but also provides social value in potentially empowering the marginalized populations that disproportionately live in high-risk areas. This emphasis on community-focused disaster preparedness, however, presents a novel set of communication challenges for geoscientists. Few scientists have training in or experience of translating their science for lay publics, and conveying complex risk information is especially difficult in circumstances where scientific issues are socially contested and politically charged. Recognising that disaster threats can create troublesome information battlegrounds, this paper explores the ethical and practical aspects of seismic risk communication, motivated by an early-career earth scientists’ workshop in Istanbul that voiced the concerns of young geoscientists confronted firsthand by at-risk publics. Those concerns form the basis of a wider review of the risk communication issues that are likely to be encountered if community-centred participatory DRR approaches are to be adopted by earthquake science researchers.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A hybrid Earth - Art, Culture & Engineers

by Martin Bohle
Martin Bohle

Board of Experts / IAPG 


How to handle the shock of the new? How do arts, technology and making sense of the future link?
Four line of thoughts #SGSCULTURE, @SalzburgGlobal [*]

Nowadays, people are altering the Earth at an accelerating pace. A new, disrupted world is in the making; research & supply-chains ahead, politics lagging behind. 
Since aeons, people have built on Earth their 'sociocultural-ecological niche' through purposefully engineering their environments to sustain their existence and reproduction. Starting from the fringes, in deep time, now human activity substantially shapes the dynamics of Earth. People's activities mark the globe at least since the industrial revolution. Taking this perspective I like to argue that, since the onset of agriculture in the Neolithic age, 'design and engineering' has been an all-purpose cultural activity of people to shape their 'sociocultural-ecological niches' to maintain their well-being, mutual care, and reproduction.

Tell the people, they are marvellous niche-builders!

What people like to happen, what they fear and what they cherish, that is at the core of their cultures. It gets pictured in their visual arts and other means to express feeling, perceiving and sense-making. Hence, culture and arts describes the sociocultural-ecological niches of our species, in history, today and as vision of the future. 
The history of altering Earth exhibit complex social and cultural processes. For example, Denevan [1992, 2011] illustrates what happened in the Americas, Purdy [2015] describes the USA, Fressoz [2012] studies France, and Chew and Sarabia [2016] or Kowarsch [2016] describe an extended historical period or the philosophical context, respectively.
People are marvellously ingenious, also when altering the Earth. To that end they deploy three dominant traits of our species. First, all people - even the artists - seem to be engineers or designer who are determined to carve out a sociocultural-ecological niche from Earth. Second, people 'consist of abstract information, including the distinctive ideas, theories, intentions, feelings and other states of mind that characterize' them and shapes their thoughtful insights [Deutsch, 2011, p.130]. Third, whatever people engineer (or design) that they do conceive through mutual sharing of insights into sense-making. Hence, humankind's multiple cultures inevitably lead to various 'particularly engineered systems for producing, distributing and consuming goods and services'. In making these systems, people face choices and constraints; that may take physical or mental form.
The individual and collective responses to the global and self-inflicted altering of Earth are various. They may be visionary, confident, or concerned. However, they also include 'cognitive dissonance', or manifest as doomsday scenarios and denial of change. Addressing people's concerns appropriately through action, including politics, require shaping public and individual discourses. Discourse is a prerequisite for handling 'weird(ing) power relations enlivened by times of radical uncertainty' [Sweeney, 2014, p. 10], hence, doing politics. The discourse should be non-technical, non-expert. Rather, they must relate to people's preferences and world-views. Hence, they have to have a cultural meaning and have to relate to collective sense-making.
At very first view, people express their preferences and world-views through their lifestyles. However, the genuine societal expression of preferences and world-views is the particular engineering / design (and 'modus operandi') of the production systems and consumption patterns that support people in maintaining their lifestyles. The 'engineering/design and operation of production systems and consumption patterns' in turn shape the intersection of societies with the biotic and abiotic environments of Earth. Whatever shape these intersections may take given the scientific-technical means and economic resources, essential for the respective design-decision will be people's world-views, their preference regarding their lifestyles, and their values.
People's preferences and values are shaped by and expressed through art, for example, narratives, that is here, tales about the purpose of actions and views about 'what is right'. Nowadays, as global change is intentional and massive, the arts shall capture the underpinning social and cultural features, such as preferences of people, their world-views, and reflect general purpose. Furthermore, the arts should extend the discussions between specialists beyond the respective realms of professional competence and influence the sense-making of how to design production systems and consumption patterns.

We, the Terra-Former

What's the New? Examples to illustrate the perspective of the central role of engineering/design in our cultures are many.
Civil engineering builds visible intersections of the Earth and (economic) activities of people, for example, dredging a waterway, building a bridge or constructing a hydroelectric power plant and other more subtle changes of Earth's geomorphology.
A less visible although powerful intersection of the Earth and (economic) activities of people are the various production systems and consumption patterns, which couple through fluxes of matter and energy.
Urban dwellings may serve as a further example; they constitute a visible intersection with the biogeosphere, and massive fluxes of energy and matter couple them to the Earth. For example, cities are receiving drinking water and ejecting wastewater, receiving electric power or fuels and ejecting heat, receiving food and ejecting manufactured goods that at the end of their life-cycle are discarded or recycled elsewhere on the globe.
An effective terra-engineering, that is 'design at a planetary scale', is taking place on Earth to sustain a human population of 9 to 11 Billion people by the end of the century. That's the New!

Bingo, Geo-Bio-Noosphere!

Obviously, culture and arts are parts of the Earth.

But, how does culture, arts relate to Earth?

To keep it simple, the Earth is composed of three spheres, a 'geosphere' of abiotic features, a 'biosphere' of biotic features, and a 'noosphere' of cognitive features. The meaning of notions 'geosphere' and 'biosphere' seem evident. To match to these two notions, what is meant by 'noosphere' needs re-focussing compared to its habitual (metaphysical) meaning.
The notions 'biosphere' and 'geosphere' are built in a similar manner. On one side they refer to physical features of the Earth, respectively biotic and abiotic objects that alter in time and space. On the other side, they refer to processes that govern the interaction of these physical features (objects) in space and time. To relate culture and arts to 'biosphere' and 'geosphere', the notion 'noosphere' should be re-coined referring also to particular 'physical features' (objects) and 'processes'.
The 'physical features' of the 'noosphere' are the artefacts that people make, not limited to but including 'engineered/designed systems for production and consumption'. The 'processes' in the 'noosphere' are the thoughtful insights of people about how to design, use and deploy these artefacts. Obviously, culture and arts are part of these thoughtful insights. Hence, the re-coined notion noosphere refers to physical features (artefacts, engineered systems) and processes (the intentional use of these artefacts).
The notions 'biosphere', 'geosphere' and 'noosphere' describe Earth as being composed of physical features and processes that govern interactions. Culture and arts are part of these processes. Consequently, a description of the Earth deems possible in which culture and arts are integral parts; 'a kind of hybrid Earth, of nature injected with human will, however responsible or irresponsible that will may have exercised' [Hamilton and Grinevald, 2015, p.68].

The Culture of “Ingenieurskunst" **

How does culture and arts relate to the engineering/design 

of production systems and consumption patterns?

The engineering/design of production systems and consumption patterns happens in a double framework. The first framework is set by the scientific-technological means, which are deployed within the available economic resources. The second framework is set by the "narratives" about what an engineered/designed system/pattern shall deliver.
The construction and operation of any 'engineered / designed system / pattern' links people's activities to the Earth, either in a direct physical manner or through fluxes of energy and matter, or through both. The 'engineering / design
narrative' describes people's sense-making of their sociocultural-ecological niche. Hence, the engineered / designed system, as well as the particular operation procedures for its use, depend on natural and technical constraints, on economic means, and on societal choices.
For example, the design of the high-water spillway of a hydroelectric power plant applies safety rules and the laws of hydrodynamics. The retention of water in the lake behind the dam is managed in function of the hydrological regimes, the intended use of water downstream of the dam, and the needs of the society for electrical power. The design and operation of an engineered / designed system in is about the appropriation of resources, that is value-driven societal choices to allocate opportunities.
Summarizing, the engineering / design of the intersections of people's activities and the Earth is much more than science, technology and economy. The intersections are as much a reflection of our value systems, cultural choices, lifestyles, virtues and good courses of action. It is in addressing these matters of sense-making that cultures and arts play their role as essential cognitive features of our species.

* The essay is a contribution to the Salzburg Global Seminar (593) “The Shock of the New: Arts, Technology and Making Sense of the Future”; 20-25 February 2018; #SGSCULTURE. The essay is derived from reflections in my paper “Ideal-Type Narratives for Engineering a Human Niche” Geosciences 2017,7(1), 18; doi:10.3390/geosciences7010018. Copyright / pictures: The author.

** The notion of 'engineering' is referred to in French and German as 'genie civil' and 'Ingenieurskunst', respectively. Rather than the English 'engineering', the corresponding French or German notions historically connote a more substantial concept, 'the ingenious civil' or 'the arts of engineering', respectively. Hence, both notions refer to the design and operation of purposely built and often larger-scale environments of artefacts.

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