Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Geoethics: more important than ever because of the climate change

by Jonathan Gómez Cantero
Jonathan Gomez Cantero

Geographer, climatologist, master in Planning and Management of Natural Hazards 
IAPG-Young Scientist Club 

Picture at the top: Flooded Mekong, by Anna Lourantou (distributed via

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

Without any doubt, Geoethics is increasingly gaining acceptance among other geoscientific fields and each day, more and more people are accepting the Geoethical Promise in order to take a responsible stand on the environment, people’s safety, sustainability.
It’s beyond doubt that even the best scientists must have an ethical attitude at work.
In a few years, climate change will highlight malpractice and will expose those works that haven’t been done properly. For instance, when discussing about floods, it is well known that some areas of the planet will increase their propensity to be flooded.
In those places where the precautionary, sustainability or safety principle won’t have been applied, many irresponsible attitudes regarding the environment will come to light.
Acting against soil erosion
(Credit: by Irene Angeluccetti,
distributed via
The situation to which climate change leads us due to temperature rises, droughts, floods, the collapse of biodiversity, more extreme weather events makes more necessary than ever to adopt an ethical stand in those territories, since the consequences of not acting in an ethical way could be extremely harmful for the nature as well as for the human being.
Land management will have to take into account the changes in some return periods of phenomena, the use of the natural resources will have to be reasoned and the protection of nature will have to be as effective as possible.
An ethical perspective in geoscientific works (geography, geology, environmental sciences, engineering) will be valued in the future, and if not achieved, the situations expected from the climate change will unveil everything that hasn’t been done appropriately.
Unfortunately, we have already seen dozens of cases in which a vulnerable location and a land mismanagement have provoked the lost of lives or caused a significant damage to the environment and infrastructures; we must all collaborate to prevent this from happening.
The Paris Convention on Climate Change (COP21) would have also to discuss this issue, that surely will be crucial in the future. The best measures of adaptation and mitigation of the climate change could start by developing a geoethical attitude and let’s hope that in the following climate summits this will be a topic to tackle that helps in raising awareness and mitigating future damages.


At the top: Flooded Mekong - Mekong river flooded in Cambodia, october 2011 (Credit: Anna Lourantou, distributed via

In the middle: Acting against soil erosion - Group photo after the completion of a gabion check dam (traitement de ravine in french). While the techniques of soil and water conservation are relatively widespread in the northern regions of Burkina Faso they are misknown in the South where the effects of both climate change and human pressure are becoming visible (Credit: Irene Angeluccetti, distributed via