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.

Free download: http://www.geoethics.org/geoethics-ag2017

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

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.

Free download: http://www.geoethics.org/geoethics-ag2017

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A hybrid Earth - Art, Culture & Engineers

by Martin Bohle
Martin Bohle

Board of Experts / IAPG 

From: http://ukkoelhob.blogspot.it/2018/01/a-hybrid-earth-art-culture-engineers.html 

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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Waters, C. N.; Zalasiewicz, J.; Summerhayes, C.; Barnosky, A. D.; Poirier, C.; Galuszka, A.; Cearreta, A.; Edgeworth, M.; Ellis, E. C.; Ellis, M. A.; Jeandel, C.; Leinfelder, R.; McNeill, J. R.; Richter, D. d.; Steffen, W.; Syvitski, J. P. M.; Vidas, D.; Wagreich, M.; Williams, M.; Zhisheng, A.; Grinevald, J.; Odada, E.; Oreskes, N.; Wolfe, A. P. The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene. Science 2016, 351 (6269), doi:10.1126/science.aad2622.

Wilson, E. O. Half-Earth -our planet’s fight for life; Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2016.

Zalasiewicz, J.; Waters, C. N.; Williams, M.; Barnosky, A. D.; Cearreta, A.; Crutzen, P.; Ellis, E. C.; Ellis, M. A.; Fairchild, I. J.; Grinevald, J.; Haff, P. K.; Hajdas, I.; Leinfelder, R.; McNeill, J.; Odada, E. O.; Poirier, C.; Richter, D.; Steffen, W.; Summerhayes, C.; Syvitski, J. P. M.; Vidas, D.; Wagreich, M.; Wing, S. L.; Wolfe, A. P.; An, Z.; Oreskes, N. When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal. Quaternary International 2015, doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2014.11.045.

Zalasiewicz, J.; Williams, M.; Waters, C. N.; Barnosky, A. D.; Palmesino, J.; Ro nnskog, A.-S.; Edgeworth, M.; Neal, C.; Cearreta, A.; Ellis, E. C.; Grinevald, J.; Haff, P.; Ivar do Sul, J. A.; Jeandel, C.; Leinfelder, R.; McNeill, J. R.; Odada, E.; Oreskes, N.; Price, S. J.; Revkin, A.; Steffen, W.; Summerhayes, C.; Vidas, D.; Wing, S.; Wolfe, A. P. Scale and diversity of the physical technosphere: A geological perspective. The Anthropocene Review 2016, 10.1177/2053019616677743 (accessed 10 Januray 2017).

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Session S40
"Seismology and Society"

(deadline: 31 March 2018)

36th General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission
2-7 September 2018, Valletta (Malta)

Session S40: "Seismology and Society"

Conveners: Nicos Melis (Greece), Remy Bossu (France), Silvia Peppoloni (Italy), Giuseppe di Capua (Italy), Iain Stewart (United Kingdom), Graça Silveira (Portugal), Susana Custódio (Portugal), Tataru Dragos (Romania), Paul Denton (United Kingdom).

Session description: This session aims to bring together seismologists working in the fields of educational seismology, citizen seismology and geoethics. The common theme being the process of communicating the science of seismology to non-specialists. Seismology has an important role to play in modern society and seismologists should be having two-way communications with a wide variety of stakeholders across all levels of society, encompassing schools, engineers, general public, other scientists, politicians and civil protection professionals. In educational seismology projects across the world practical studies of seismology can be used to enhance the scientific literacy not just within the school but also within the wider community through family interactions. Nowadays non-specialist citizens are becoming increasingly involved with the collection and dissemination of seismological information through a growing number of citizen seismology networks, maybe by reporting directly or indirectly felt effects or by instrument based programmes. This session aims to promote the discussion on social aspects involved in seismic risk communication and (geo)ethical implications. Improving the relationships between scientists, decision makers, and general public means to increase the resilience of the human communities, and to make seismologists more aware of the responsibility in conducting their activity.

This session is supported by IAPG.

Website: http://www.escmalta2018.eu/page/Sessions_n#S40

Other events on geoethics in the IAPG website: 

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Monday, February 19, 2018


The International Network of Young and Early-Career Geoscientists (YES) and the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG) have signed an agreement for cooperation on 5 February 2018.

The aim of the agreement is to develop a co-ordinated activity for promoting initiatives and events discussing the ethical, social and cultural implications of geosciences and favouring the adoption of ethical standards in the research and practice of geoscience community in order to better serving the Society.

The agreement expresses a mutual desire to officially co-operate on a range of themes in the field of geoethics as already done unofficially in the last years, in particular, to promote the discussion on geoethical issues among the international community of young and early-career Earth Scientists.
The agreement helps to assure a continued IAPG-YES Network collaboration and coordination on issues of common interests, in particular, the following:

  • promotion of principles of geoethics, research integrity and professional deontology in geosciences activities among their networks;
  • definition of ethical problems, also through case-studies, affecting geoscience community and organizations with a particular focus on young and early-career geoscientists;
  • co-organization of scientific events to disseminate concepts of geoethics, among both the professional and research communities, with particular attention to young and early-career geoscientists;
  • production of relevant publications.

YES Network (https://www.networkyes.org/ - website under reorganization) is an international organization of young and early-career Earth Scientists, primarily under the age of 35 years, coming from universities, geoscience organizations and companies all over the world, is headquartered in UNESCO, Paris (France). YES Network is a "legacy" of the International Year of Planet Earth, held in 2008. YES Network has more than 5000 members in 144 countries, and 49 national committees working together to "Promote Young Earth Scientists for Society". YES Network is affiliated to the IUGS – International Union of Geological Sciences.

Read more about IAPG affiliations and agreements: 

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Friday, February 9, 2018


(by Silvia Peppoloni and Giuseppe Di Capua)

Citation: Peppoloni S. and Di Capua G. (2018). The Cape Town Statement on Geoethics and the IAPG Network. The EPOS Newsletter issue 01, January 2018 | Article 02.

Recently the interest by geoscientists in ethical and social aspects of geoscience has grown considerably. Geoethics is defined as the “Research and reflection on the values that underpin appropriate behaviours and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system. Geoethics deals with the ethical, social and cultural implications of geoscience knowledge, education, research, practice, and communication, and with the social role and responsibility of geoscientists in conducting their activities” (Peppoloni and Di Capua, 2014).....

Read the full article at: https://www.epos-ip.org/cape-town-statement-geoethics-and-iapg-network

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

(by David W. Mogk)

Citation: Mogk D.W. (2017). Geoethics and Professionalism: The Responsible Conduct of Scientists, doi: 10.4401/ag-7584. 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 primary focus of geoethics has traditionally been on the responsible conduct of science: issues such as plagiarism, fabrication or falsification of data, and topics related to the doing of science. Equally as important to the success of the scientific enterprise are the personal attributes required of being a scientist and the responsible conduct of scientists in their personal interactions with colleagues and the public. In this contribution, numerous aspects of professionalism are addressed, which encompass behaviors and attitudes that impact the ability of scientists to do their work in the social environment of the workplace and with the public. Principles of professionalism have their foundations in concepts related to power, trust, respect, and responsibility. These are topics that are typically not directly addressed in day-to-day workplace communications or in classrooms, but they are essential in providing a safe, inclusive and productive work environment. Administrators, faculty, staff, students, managers and co-workers may encounter all manner of interpersonal conflicts that may affect the safety and productivity of their work environment. In particular, recent revelations about instances of sexual harassment and bullying in the geoscience workplace are of immediate concern and dictate that there must be changes in the geoscience work culture. Know how to recognize the signs of potential trouble, intervene early to prevent a bad situation, know the rules, and have a plan in place about how to respond to and mitigate impacts of unprofessional behaviors.

Free download: http://www.geoethics.org/geoethics-ag2017

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Abstract submission deadline extended at the RFG 2018  

International Association for Promoting Geoethics (http://www.geoethics.org) invites colleagues to contribute to the international discussion on geoethics by submitting abstracts in the sessions organized or supported by IAPG on different issues (full descriptions at: http://www.geoethics.org/rfg2018):

  • Session RS13: Geoethics and Environmental and Social Responsibility: Doing the Right Thing to Develop Resources for Future Generations
  • Session RS10: Geoethics in geoscience education, communication and citizen science: experiences, approaches, and concepts
  • Session RS9: Geoethics in georisks management for a safer and more resilient society
  • Session RS8: Geoethics and the Responsible Conduct of Scientists
  • Session RS12: Forensic Geology: Ethics, Communication, Regulation and Opportunities

Abstract submission at: http://rfg2018.gibsongroup.ca/abstract-submission.php

The deadline for the abstract submission has been extended:
12 February 2018

Join us in Vancouver!!!

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics: