GeoEthics and Society
David Mogk, Montana State University
Geovision Report, 2009 and the Earth Science Literacy Initiative). The challenge is to effectively convey information about the Earth system (processes, hazards, resources) to inform civic discourse that effects policy, planning, issues of public health and safety, and impacts on humanity.
GeoEthics explores the responsibilities of geoscientists: What is the responsibility of geoscientists in service to society? How can the product of geoscientists' work be communicated to the public to effect positive actions and policies in light of our knowledge of Earth processes? How can we convey uncertainty to the public and planners (frequency, magnitude, duration, recurrence interval, etc. of natural phenomena; limits to available resources)? Should geoscientists be culpable for costs related to recovery of natural disasters or economic consequences related to studies of resource development? How can we best prepare future geoscientists to responsibly inform the public and work with journalists, civil planners and policy makers? Relevant topics include Social Responsibility, Public Policy and Litigation, Effective Communication of Geoscience Information to the Public, and much more.
We welcome additional resources on this topic; please Contribute a Resource on this online form.
Effectively Communicating GeoScience to the Public
- Scientific Research and the Public Trust–David Resnik, Science and Engineering Ethics, September 2011, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 399-409
- Sustaining Existence: A Geoethical Dilemma–Geissman, J. W. (2016), Sustaining existence: A geoethical dilemma, Eos, 97, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO050383. Published on 20 April 2016. "Would communicating science be more effective if geoethics were included in the discussion?"
- Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda–National Academy Press (2016) (Download the PDF).
- Social Responsibility–Resources for Research Ethics Education, UC San Diego
- The Researcher in Society
- On Being A Scientist –A Guide to Responsible Conduct of Research 3rd Ed., 2009, National Academy Press (pages 48-50)
- National Academy of Engineering Engineering, Social Justice, and Sustainable Community Development
- Education: Embed Social Awareness in Science Curricula–Erin A. Cech, Nature, 505, 477–478 (23 January 2014) doi:10.1038/505477a. "Separate ethics courses are not enough, argues Erin A. Cech. Understanding the public-welfare impacts of science and engineering is a core professional skill."
- Geoscientists: Focus More on Societal Concerns–Showstack, R. (2015), Geoscientists: Focus more on societal concerns, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO034063. Published on 10 August 2015.
Public Policy and Litigation
- AAAS Court Appointed Scientific Experts (CASE); guidelines for scientific testimony in the legal system. Download the Handbook for Experts, vol 3
- AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology
- UNESCO Global Ethics Observatory Global Environmental Change–Environmental Ethics, Ethical Principles, Policy and Planning....
- Teaching Public Policy in the Earth Sciences–On the Cutting Edge
GeoSciences and Underrepresented Groups
- Urban Students-Urban Issues–from on the Cutting Edge
- Impacts of Resource Development on Native American Lands–from Integrating Research and Education
- The Navajo Nation and Uranium Mining
- The Crow Reservation and Coalbed Methane
- The Fort Belknap Reservation and Gold Mining
- The Nez Perce Reservation and Water Resources
- The Pine Ridge Reservation and Gold Mining
- Resources of the Pribilof Islands
- Teaching Environmental Justice: Interdisciplinary Approaches–from InTeGrate
- Connect Justice to Sustainability–InTeGrate
Topics Where Earth Processes and Materials Impact Humanity or Vice Versa
Many of the teaching resources and activities developed in related course and curriculum development projects can be readily adopted, adapted and repurposed to support teaching of GeoEthics. Take some time to browse through the following modules to discover resources that address topics or issues to support teaching and learning about GeoEthics. These are mostly topics that were developed to introduce scientific concepts or content, promote technical and professional skill development, and/or help students prepare for the workforce or make connections between their personal and societal lives and the geosciences. A small commitment of class time can extend these modules to also include an exploration of GeoEthics applications and implications.
- Teaching Environmental Geology–On the Cutting Edge
- Teaching Natural Hazards–InTeGrate
- Teaching About Hazards in the Geosciences–On the Cutting Edge
- Systems, Society, and Sustainability in the Geosciences–InTeGrate
- Risk and Resilience in the Context of Sustainability–InTeGrate
- Environmental Health Risk Assessment–Integrating Research and Education
- Teaching About Climate Change–On the Cutting Edge
- Teaching About Energy–InTeGrate
- Teaching About Energy in Geoscience Courses–On the Cutting Edge
- Teaching Energy Literacy–CLEAN
- Teaching About Food–InTeGrate
- Teaching About Water–InTeGrate
- Teaching Systems Thinking–InTeGrate
- Developing Students Understanding of Complex Systems in the Geosciences–On the Cutting Edge
- Geology and Human Health–On the Cutting Edge
- Is There a Present Volcanic Hazard at Yellowstone?–Integrating Research and Education
- Should Geothermal Resources Around Yellowstone be Developed?–Integrating Research and Education
- Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park: An American Right or Wrong?
- Yellowstone Fires–Starting Point