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Geoscience expertise: crucial for meeting global societal challenges

4 May 2020

A new declaration led by EGU and endorsed by GSL and other international geoscience societies affirms the commitment of the Earth, planetary and space science community to support and promote scientific knowledge and research for the benefit of humanity.

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, 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.

“We at GSL have long held that geoscientists have an increasingly important role to play in ensuring global wellbeing and prosperity,” says Alicia Newton, GSL Director of Science and Communications. “Indeed, we have designated 2022 the Year of Sustainability, in order to explore the many ways that geologists will contribute to delivering the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and achieving net-zero targets. We are delighted to join with learned societies from around the world to recognise the important work geoscientists do to protect people and the planet.”

The declaration was issued today to coincide with the start of the European Geosciences Union’s annual General Assembly.

Notes for editors

  1. Read more about geology and sustainability in our policy briefing notes and via our decarbonisation hub.
  2. The Geological Society of London, founded 1807, is a learned and professional body of over 12,000 Earth scientists with a remit to investigate, interpret, discuss, inform and advise on the nature and processes of the Earth, their practical importance to humanity, and, in the interests of the public, to promote professional excellence. The Society offers advice to Parliament and Government, at individual and corporate levels. Registered Charity No. 210161.