Geoscience expertise: crucial for meeting global societal challenges
4 May 2020
The specialised knowledge and skills that geoscientists possess are crucial for providing the essential resources and healthy environments that humanity needs to thrive. To highlight this relevance, six of the world’s largest geoscience societies have endorsed a declaration affirming the commitment of the international geoscience community to apply its expertise to meet societal challenges and pledging to work together to support essential geoscience research.
In the Declaration of the Significance of Geoscience Expertise to Meet Global Societal Challenges, the organisations emphasise that humanity’s ability to both anticipate and meet current and future challenges depends upon the development of innovative science and technology to understand their origins and to implement successful strategies for addressing them. In the document, the societies also recognise their shared responsibility to utilise scientific research results to increase humanity’s resilience to single, as well as multiple and interrelated, societal challenges whose cascading effects can only be understood by carrying out complex analyses with which geoscientists have particular expertise.
In addition to reaffirming their commitment to use science to help humanity prevent, prepare for, and recover from regional and global crises, the organisations pledge to effectively communicate research results to improve the public trust in science. The societies, including the European Geosciences Union, the American Geophysical Union, the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society, the Geological Society of America, the Japan Geoscience Union and The Geological Society of London, further agree to support policymakers and evidence-informed decision-making for the benefit of society and the planet.
“As the scope, complexity and urgency of challenges like the coronavirus outbreak or environmental change escalate, the expertise of geoscientists becomes increasingly relevant and important,” says EGU President Alberto Montanari. “Due to their unique skillsets, Earth, planetary and space scientists have a duty, as well as an obligation, to openly and transparently address key societal issues that are of everyday relevance to people around the globe.”
The declaration was issued today to coincide with the start of the European Geosciences Union’s annual General Assembly. Traditionally held in Vienna each spring, the meeting this year will instead be conducted virtually due to the ongoing pandemic. This change will enable a large community of scientists, policymakers and journalists as well as members of the public to learn about the latest results of thousands of geoscience research projects being conducted around the globe.
“By working together,” says Montanari, “geoscientists will leverage our ability to implement feasible solutions to help realise a sustainable and just future for people, our shared planet and its vital ecosystems.”
The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is the leading organisation for Earth, planetary and space science research in Europe. With our partner organisations worldwide, we foster fundamental geoscience research, alongside applied research that addresses key societal and environmental challenges. Our vision is to realise a sustainable and just future for humanity and for the planet. We publish a number of diverse scientific journals, which use an innovative open access format, and organise topical meetings, and education and outreach activities. Follow the EGU on Twitter and Facebook.