Monday, October 31, 2016

The "Cape Town Statement on Geoethics"

IAPG considers the 35th IGC - International Geological Congress, held in Cape Town (South Africa), the event that opens a new phase for Geoethics and for the Association. In order to celebrate this passage, the IAPG Drafting Committee, formed by Giuseppe Di Capua, Peter Bobrowsky and Silvia Peppoloni, has put together the "Cape Town Statement on Geoethics" (CTSG), a document to be considered as the product of an international effort to focus the attention of geoscientists on the development of shared policies, guidelines, strategies and tools, with the long-range goal of fostering the adoption of ethical practices in the geoscience community. The final document sums up all the values, concepts, contents developed in the first 4-year activity of IAPG, giving a perspective for the future development of geoethics. The CTSG has been announced during the opening keynote speech by Silvia Peppoloni (IAPG Secretary General) in the first IAPG session on geoethics at the 35th IGC. After the congress, the draft version has been sent for comments and suggestions to all the IAPG officers (members of the Executive Council, Coordinators of the National Sections, Corresponding Citizen Scientists) and to the 35th IGC Champions of the Theme "Geoscience Professionalism and Geoethics". Once improved (thanks in particular to Nic Bilham, Martin Bohle, Andy Clay, Emilia Hermelinda Lopera Parejas, David Mogk), the final version has been ratified by the Executive Council of the IAPG and finally published in the IAPG website.

Cape Town (South Africa)
The concepts, values and views on individual responsibilities of geoscientists, expressed in the "Cape Town Statement on Geoethics", reflect an international consensus. 

The statement aims to capture the attention of geoscientists and organisations, and to stimulate them to improve their shared policies, guidelines, strategies and tools to ensure they consciously embrace (geo)ethical professional conduct in their work.

The "Cape Town Statement on Geoethics" contains the new formula of the "Geoethical Promise".

Download the "Cape Town Statement on Geoethics" (pdf version) at:

Friday, October 28, 2016

Edmund Nickless appointed as IAPG expert on 
"Geoethics for Society"

Until the end of September 2015 when he retired after 18 years service, Edmund Nickless was the Executive Secretary (Executive Director) of the Geological Society of London (GSL), the oldest national geological society in the world. Previously he held senior positions with the British Geological Survey (BGS) where he was for 29 years, during which time he was seconded first to the Earth Sciences Directorate of the Natural Environment Research Council - NERC (1982 to 1989) and then the Science and Technology Secretariat of the Cabinet Office (1989-1991). 

In BGS he worked on resource assessment projects in England and Scotland and the first environmental geology maps published by the Survey. He has written papers on the Quaternary geology of East Anglia and on celestite, an evaporite mineral occurring in the Bristol area of western England. 

At NERC he was responsible for research grants, studentships, international programmes including UK membership in the International Ocean Drilling Programme and the British Deep Reflection Profiling Syndicate. 

At the Cabinet Office he provided policy advice on subjects as diverse as HIV/AIDS, bioethics, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (so called mad cow disease), and the research provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, data charging, space policy and identifying the UK spend on environmental research as part of a government White Paper on the environment. 

On his return to BGS as an Assistant Director he was responsible for managing the physical and electronic collections, publishing and coordinating external relations. 

At the GSL he worked with its Council and Officers to move the Society from being solely a learned body to being both a learned society and professional body and, in particular to raise the status of the practice of geology and of its professional title, Chartered Geologist. He developed strong links to other geoscience organisations in North America and Europe and was instrumental in ensuring the Society’s participation in GeoScienceWorld, an electronic aggregate to maximise the discoverability and use of peer reviewed content. 

As a Board member of the UK Science Council he was active in drafting its Declaration on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, and as the UK representative to the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) worked with colleagues to draft their code of ethical guidelines. 

Currently he is member of the Ethics Board of EPOS - The European Plate Observing System, a Research Infrastructure aims at creating a pan-European network for solid Earth science to support a safe and sustainable society. 

Finally, Edmund Nickless is Councillor of the IUGS - International Union of Geological Sciences (2016-2020).

List of IAPG Experts:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Minutes of the 1st IAPG General Assembly

IAPG held its 1st General Assembly in Cape Town (South Africa) on 31 August 2016, during the 35th IGC - International Geological Congress.
The goal of the General Assembly was to outline and share essential information about the last 4-year activity of IAPG, including the financial situation, and to ratify some decisions.

Download the minutes (pdf file):

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The new IAPG session on Geoethics at EGU 2017

EGU General Assembly 2017 will take place in Vienna from 23 to 28 April 2017. The IAPG organizes the Session EOS14:

Geoethics: ethical, social and cultural implications of geoscience knowledge, education, research and practice

The call for abstracts is open: "Recent years have seen a great growth of interest in geoethics among geoscientists. They have become more involved in discussions of the values which underpin appropriate behaviors and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system. All branches of geosciences have ethical, social and cultural implications. Therefore, there is an evident need to develop an ethical framework for geoscience research and practices that can help geoscientists confronting ethical dilemmas and make them more aware of their responsibility in conducting their activities.
Geoethical principles apply to geoscientists’ work across four equally important domains: the self, colleagues, society and the natural environment. Thus, the spectrum of geoethics topics is very broad. It includes issues of research integrity and professional deontology, data production and management, conflicts of interest, publishing ethics, the role of geoscientists in sustainable development, exploration and use of geo-resources and soil while meeting high standards of environmental protection, the defense of society against natural risks, and the impact of human activities and pollution on human health and the climate. It also encompasses the ethical implications of science communication and geo-education for society, and of geoheritage and geoparks as tools to raise public awareness of the importance of geoscience and the Earth system to our lives. Addressing harassment and discrimination in the geosciences, including on grounds of gender, ethnicity or disability, is also a geoethical matter; so is the role of geosciences in the economic and social development of low-income countries while respecting local cultures and traditions, and in promoting peace and intercultural exchange. 
Geoscientists have a fundamental part to play in addressing many of the most urgent problems affecting our planet and its population. Their technical knowledge and expert advice are vital for informed decision-making, and to ensure that education at all levels equips the citizens of the 21st century to participate in public debate about these challenges. Geoscientists with greater awareness of their ethical responsibilities towards themselves, colleagues, society and the environment will be better able to put their knowledge at the service of society, to communicate it effectively, and to grow public trust in science.
The conveners invite abstracts on both practical and theoretical aspects of geoethics, including case studies. The aim of the session is to develop ethical and social perspectives on the challenges arising from human interaction with natural systems, to complement technical approaches and solutions, and to help to define an ethical framework for geoscientists' research and practice in addressing these challenges."

The session EOS14 will be convened by Silvia Peppoloni, Nic Bihlam, Martin Bohle, Giuseppe Di Capua, Eduardo Marone.

Read more about the session description and how to submit an abstract at:

(Deadline: 11 January 2017)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Iain Stewart appointed as IAPG expert on 
"Risk communication"

Iain Stewart is professor of Geoscience Communication at Plymouth University and Director of its Sustainable Earth Institute. His long-standing research interests are in interdisciplinary investigations of geological hazards (earthquakes, volcanism, tsunamis) and abrupt environmental change, and more recently in the communication of "contested geoscience" to the public.

After a studying Geography and Geology at Strathclyde University (1986), and completing a PhD in earthquake geology at Bristol University (1990), he taught Earth Science at Brunel University until 2002. He then left to develop public geoscience projects, and in the last decade or so has presented major television series for the BBC on the nature, history and state of the planet. Among these are 'Earth: The Power of the Planet', 'Earth: The Climate Wars', 'How Earth Made Us', 'How To Grow A Planet', 'Volcano Live', and 'Rise of the Continents'. He regularly fronts BBC Horizon specials on geoscientific topics (Japanese earthquake, the Russian meteor strike, Shale gas/Fracking, Florida sinkholes). His latest BBC series - a 3-parter on the history of oil: 'Planet Oil'.

In recent years has received awards for geoscience communication from the Royal Geographical Society (2010), the Geologists Association (2009), the Geological Society of London (2010), the American Geophysical Union (2013), and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (2105). He was the inaugural recipient of The University of New South Wales's Scientia Medal for science communication. Iain is currently President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and the Earth Science Teachers Association, and Patron of the Scottish Geodiversity Forum and of the English Riviera GeoPark. In the 2013 Birthday Honours List he was recognised for his work on public engagement in geoscience with an MBE.

List of IAPG Experts:

Monday, October 24, 2016

A report from the 35th IGC:

the Panel-Session "What’s the point of Geoethics"

30th August 2016, Cape Town (South Africa)

by Martin Bohle
Martin Bohle

Corresponding Citizen Scientist / IAPG

Disclaimer: My views and not of my employer.

The purpose of the panel-session organized by IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics was to distil insights. The panel meeting followed four thematic sessions on geoethics. These sessions presented a wide spectrum of contributions, which were ranging from conceptual work, through consideration about training and awareness, to reports on experiences. 
At the panel meeting, key-speakers were asked to present how their views had evolved, focussing on: Lights and shadows of geoethics (Silvia Peppoloni), Teaching geoethics - A Great Challenge (David Mogk), Professionalism - How to practice geosciences in an ethical way (Ruth Allington), (Geo)ethical dilemmas in geosciences - What to do (Heather Houlton replacing Christopher Keane), and Geoethics for society - Is it possible? (Nic Bilham).

Silvia Peppoloni
(IAPG Secretary General)
The statement "Geoethics is at the heart of all geoscience, it's not a specialist domain", as offered by Nic Bilham, synthesized best the contributions to the IAPG sessions on geoethics at the 35th IGC. Against that background, geoethics is understood now to contribute to a "new" way of thinking geosciences. Geoethics means considering the multi-dimensional space of individual behaviour, of social responsibility, and viewing Earth as a home (for many). It seems likely that various points of equilibria can be found when reflecting about philosophical, geo-scientific, and economic/social concerns so that sound individual and professional behaviour can prosper. Such behaviour is building on professional responsibility, know-how, and intellectual honesty. It came clear, when also listening to contributions about regulated geosciences - a wide, robust but heterogeneous setting -  that possibly it is suitable to extend the bulk of these professional codes and regulations by softer means, i.e. "recognized shared practices".

David Mogk
(Montana University and
IAPG Corresponding Citizen Scientist)
Prospering of such soft means would help geo/professional-ethical thinking to evolve. It would provide a space for the diversity of individual, professional, social, economic, and environmental situations that make our world. On the contrary, the traditional (Western European) approach "to codify in a systematic manner" seems to be less practical, at least not at a global scale, to cope with both, people living (still) in extreme poverty or living in abundancy. Addressing geosciences in that manner we should be able, i) to cope with its professional particularity, namely that geosciences feel more than many other science the differences between developed and developing countries in economic, social and cultural terms, and ii) to face the wide diversity of its subjects and application cases, e.g. from (geo)heritages to engineering geology; a diversity which possibly comes close to diversity that is found in the social sphere.

Ruth Allington
(IUGS-TGGGP and 35th IGC Theme Champion)
Against that background, communication, outreach, advocating or lobbying on issues of geoethical concerns will have to be balanced in a case-depending manner, however being served by a stream of coordinated education activities inside and beyond the classroom; i.e. "all hands on deck teaching geoethics". The common foundations of these activities would englobe both, to consider the specific nature of geoscience such as uncertainties, non-linear system dynamics, and incomplete set of observations, and to be aware that 'public trusts' is gained and 'geoscience research' respects its limits (ex. drilling Lake Vostok, geo-engineering, future practices of mining).

Heather Houlton
Thus and as part of our "family values", towards where "promoting geoethics" is heading? During the last years notions where agreed through an intensive "listening" practice avoiding ideological hardening. This sustained participatory process should lead to a dynamic of collation of practitioner's essentials of "shared behaviours", "individual awareness" and "requirements for stewardship for our professions" that avoids to constrain "scientific freedom" and "self-regulated recognition of professionals". 

Nic Bilham
(GSL and IAPG Corresponding Citizen Scientist)
Concluding, only little more activity seems to be needed regarding "codification of notions", but more activity on outreach and application deems urgent. Evidently, geoethics is well-anchored in the professional sphere; and this anchoring will be strengthened jointly with work on ethics of professional work, inclusivity of work force, and integrity of the individual. However, that anchor in the professional sphere is not what makes "promoting geoethics" peculiar and beneficial. To that end other activities likely come to the top of our agendas, activities which are done locally and are networked globally, that shall bring "geosciences into peoples' life" giving justice to their needs to include the geo-resources using on our planet for their benefits.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Friday, October 21, 2016

Geoethics at AGU Fall Meeting 2016

Geoethics is among the topics of the AGU Fall Meeting even this year. IAPG is actively involved in this important annual geoscience event and co-organizes the Session PA12B: Geoethics and Scientific Integrity: The Keys to Advancing the Geosciences and a Healthy Planet (Monday, 12 December 2016  10:20 - 12:20, Moscone South - Room 304), convened by Linda Gundersen, Brooks Hanson, Cindy Palinkas (IAPG-USA), Vincent Cronin (IAPG-USA).

Session description:
San Francisco (USA)
Geoscience directly influences the sustainability and health of the Earth; it must be conducted with the highest standards of integrity and ethics.  Geoscientist’s research elucidates many issues with significant ethical, social, and economic implications. Considering such risks as natural hazards, climate change, resource extraction, and the environmental impact of chemical and atmospheric elements; there is a clear need to develop ethical frameworks within which geoscientists can conduct their research, education, and communication.  The session’s goal is to discuss these frameworks, examining both theoretical and practical aspects of Geoethics and scientific integrity. We will explore the most recent advances in research on scientific integrity and Geoethics education, the ethics of publishing and data access, and will feature both the new report on Responsible Science from the National Academy of Sciences and new AGU/Wiley Scientific Integrity and Geoethics book.  We invite contributions on advances in scientific integrity and Geoethics, including case studies.

Programme of the session on geoethics

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A new co-coordinator for IAPG-Iraq

Ameer Hayder Khalid (Department of Applied Geosciences, College of Spatial Planning and Applied Science, University of Duhok, Kurdistan Region) is the new co-coordinator of IAPG-Iraq. 

He replaces Saleh A. Lazam, and joins Nawrass N. Ameen in this position.

Ameer holds M.Sc. in the field of Economic Geology (Industrial Rocks and Minerals) from the University of Mosul, Iraq (2006). He received his B.Sc. in Geology from the same university (1999). He is a lecturer at the Department of Applied Geosciences, University of Duhok. He was previously a lecturer at the Department of Geology, University of Mosul from 2007 to 2014. He teaches Industrial Geology, Geochemistry, Geology and Technology of limestone, Mining Geology and Mineralogy. His research interests include metallic and non-metallic minerals resources, cement industry, building stones, mining and quarrying industry, limestone, clays, insulators, pigments, aggregate, ceramic raw materials, gypsum, metallurgical and refractory materials, abrasives, glass and brick industry. He is also interested in environmental, health and social issues connected with mining activities. He supervised numerous graduation projects on topics of assessment of building stones, quarrying and mineral resources. He delivered scientific consultations to the private sector for the selection of appropriate raw materials and extraction sites for the industry. He is member of the Iraqi Geologists Union and Arab Geologists Union since 1999.

IAPG thanks the former co-coordinator, Saleh A. Lazam, for the work done to establish the section and to create an IAPG network in Iraq..

List of IAPG National Sections:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Christine McEntee appointed as IAPG expert on 
"Harassment and Discrimination in Geosciences"

Christine McEntee is Executive Director and CEO of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). She is an association leader and innovator, building a record of achievement in leading large organizations through changes in strategy, governance, membership, programs, and the fluid public policies that confront them. She actively works to improve workplace climate issues and diversity in staff and leadership positions. She has been honored as CEO Update's CEO of the Year (2016), is an American Society of Association Executives Fellow and recipient of the Women Who Advance America award and received the America's Top Women Mentoring Leaders award in 2011 from Women of Wealth magazine. She serves on several medical institution’s boards of directors. Ms. McEntee holds a Master’s in Health Administration from The George Washington University, a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Georgetown University, and is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Advanced Executive Program.

List of IAPG Experts:

Monday, October 17, 2016

A new co-coordinator for IAPG-Portugal

Paulo Emanuel Talhadas Ferreira da Fonseca (Department of Geology, University of Lisbon) is the new co-coordinator of IAPG-Portugal. 

He replaces António José Correia de Almeida, and joins Clara Maria da Silva de Vasconcelos in this position.

Paulo Fonseca is a geologist born in 1960 in Lisbon, teaching at the Lisbon University - Geology Department, since 1987. He was graduated in Geology in 1985 at Faculty of Science Lisbon University and in 1995 he achieved the PhD title in Structural Geology – (Internal Geodynamics) at the same University. His main research activities range from Structural Geology, Tectonics and Geodynamics – (Ophiolites essentially during Variscan Orogeny) to Geology Education - experimental geology (adults and persons with disabilities). Other interests are focused in Atlantic Island Geology (Madeira), Geochronology, Oil and Gas Storage (LPG) and Reservoirs (Fluid Circulation), Shale oil and gas geology, CO2 and Carbon sequestration, Environmental Geology and Groundwater Geology, Geological Heritage and Geoconservation.
List of IAPG National Section:

IAPG thanks the former co-coordinator, António Almeida, for the work done to establish the section and to create an IAPG network in Portugal.

List of IAPG National Sections:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

IAPG Roundtable
"Geoethics in Peru: 
implications for Geosciences"

XVIII Peruvian Congress of Geology
Lima (Peru)
19 October 2016, 15:55 - 17:10

The roundtable is organized by IAPG-Peru (SEGCGS-SGP)

Shianny Vasquez

Hall Nro. Uno (Polideportivo) site of the Pontificia universidad católica del Perú - PUCP, Lima

Scientific Programme:

Friday, October 7, 2016

IAPG-Brazil: Training course 2016 on 
Ocean Governance, Ocean Sciences and Geoethics

Training course 2016 on Ocean Governance, Ocean Sciences and Geoethics, by the Training Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean (International Ocean Institute - Brazil, in collaboration with IAPG-Brazil).

Geoethics module (by Eduardo Marone, IAPG-Brazil):
- Ethics and Environment.
- Sustainable Development as an Ethical concept.
- Ocean Governance, Science & Ethics.
- The Concept of the Common Heritage of Mankind.
- Geoethics. Confronting Ocean Governance ethical dilemmas.
- Responsible Conduct of Research.
- Recognizing ethical dilemmas in the first instance. Developing the strategies and skills needed to responsibly participate in the profession, and gain experience in ethical decision-making.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics is partner of the Internationa Ocean Institute - Brazil.

More information in the homepage of the IAPG website:

The new IAPG flyer

Download, print and share the new IAPG flyer among your colleagues. 

You find it at:

Thank you!