Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Interviews at the IAPG session on geoethics
at the EGU 2019

With this post we start to publish some short interviews we took at the last EGU General Assembly 2019 in Vienna, during the IAPG session on Geoethics (http://www.geoethics.org/egu2019).

In this first video, Nic Bilham (IAPG Continental Coordinator for Europe) comments on the IAPG session.

Video of Nic's interview in the IAPG YouTube Channel:

IAPG YouTube Channel:

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics: 

Friday, April 26, 2019

"...our future on this planet needs an assumption of responsibility by all..."
(an interview to Silvia Peppoloni by AGU)

AGU - American Geophysical Union interviewed Silvia Peppoloni (IAPG Secretary General) for Earth Day celebrated on 22 April 2019 and AGU's Centennial.

The interview has been published in the section "Paths through Science" of the AGU website and "StoryCorps Archive". 

The full audio interview is available at:

Here below, you can read the interview: 

AGU: Tell me your earliest memory of being interested in science

Silvia: In general, since I was a child, I had a fairly rational approach to things, driven by a great curiosity to understand how the world worked, an attitude that pushed me to ask myself the causes that were behind the phenomena.

I can tell you a funny memory that dates back to when I was about six years old. I was playing with the water that flowed from the tap and I just couldn’t understand where the water came from and where it ended up once it entered the drain hole. At the same time, I was perfectly aware that I did not have the ability to understand at that moment, but I was sure that over the years I would have acquired that competence. So, I thought of taking some water from the tap and closing it tightly in a glass bottle. Then I put a label on it where I wrote day, month and year. And finally, I swore solemnly not to open that little bottle until I was capable of analyzing its content and maybe to understand its origin.  The funny thing is that I still have that bottle, I never opened it and even today, when I recall that episode, I can’t help but laugh at me. But definitely, I recognize in that little girl something that still characterizes me, that is a great curiosity, the tendency of posing myself in front of a phenomenon in a way that can be defined “scientific”, to get to the truth of things.

AGU: Explain the steps you took to have a career path in academia or research? Please include your education

Silvia: At the beginning of my studies, when I was a teenager, I was fascinated by humanities: philosophy, art, the classical ancient world, and the beauty of the Italian language were my main interests. Moreover, from the age of eight, I devoted myself to the study of the piano. Thus, I opted for the secondary school, which in Italy is called “classical high school”, centered on disciplines such as Latin, Greek, history, art and philosophy …. But at the same time, I could not escape from the great amazement (and even fear) that natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, aroused in me. So, at the end of secondary school, when the time came to choose a course of study at the university. I chose to study Earth sciences. Although disciplines such as mathematics, physics, and chemistry were definitely penalized in the humanities school, it was very easily for me to recover my gaps with respect to the students coming from the scientific school. Indeed, sometimes, when I had to solve a mathematical equation, it seemed to me that my brain used the same logical strategies that it used to translate a Greek or Latin text.

Today, years later, I recognize that a humanities background represents an additional resource for anyone, even for those who want to dedicate their lives to scientific studies. My experience at the university was very positive: professors were capable of transferring to me the love for the study of natural dynamics and processes of the Earth, the wonder for the evolution of life, but also the rigor of the scientific method and the importance of developing rigorous technical tools to investigate and understand how the planet works. My degree and my PhD were focused on the study of geomorphological processes, on geological landscape forms, on river dynamics and morphotectonics.

But, over time, I felt the need to give more concrete outputs to my knowledge. Slowly, I became convinced that geoscience knowledge goes beyond the simple intellectual satisfaction and love for science. The specific knowledge and skills that I was building for my career, could have clear repercussions on society and the environment. Thus, I turned my interest to studies on geological hazards and risks and to their immediate applications, such as seismic microzonation, and in general, the study of the geological vulnerability of inhabited centers. These have been and are my research fields at the Italian Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, where I have worked since 1999. During my work, I became increasingly aware that the geoscience activity involves great responsibilities and the duty of using our knowledge to best serve public good. These are the reasons that led me to develop geoethics, which today represents my main scientific activity. I felt the urgent need for an ethical and social reflection on geosciences practice and research. Finally, only a few years ago,  I added to my career the activity of the geoscience dissemination, through the cooperation with Italian newspapers and the publication of books that meet interests, needs and concerns of the general public.

AGU: What were some challenges or obstacles you had to overcome to pursue your career choices?

Silvia: I think that sometimes the greatest obstacles to career are built by us, whenever we have no confidence in ourselves, every time we give in to a difficulty, every time we exclude a possible path considering it too difficult for us. But undoubtedly, there are external circumstances that can hinder a person’s career path. As far as I am concerned, the biggest obstacle I encountered was basically caused by the envy of a group of colleagues, who perceived the efforts and interests I put in my scientific activity as a threat, an unwelcome interference in what they probably considered their own field of action. In particular, one of those colleagues, a senior scientist, instead of dealing with me in a professionally correct way, started to defame my reputation worldwide. And this continued for years, in the complete silence and sometimes with the connivance of his closer followers. My fault was having started to develop my own ideas in that field they probably believed to be their exclusive sphere of competence. At that time, 10 years ago, I was at the beginning of my career and they were senior scientists. And today, years later, I realize that can be difficult for a young scientist to contrast similar pressures and intimidations.

In my case, an excessive respect for the old age of this person prevented me to denounce his absurd behavior in front of the scientific community, although every day I received dozens of emails with insults and threats and my life was becoming a hell. The support of many colleagues, who took my side, helped me to go ahead, to not let myself be intimidated. For those who are insecure by character, obstacles can completely block actions. I think that any obstacle can become a mountain if determination and self-confidence are missing. On the contrary, many difficulties can be overcome if we strongly believe that what we are doing is right. And fortunately, on our career path we meet many open, honest colleagues, ready to share that path. Opening up to others is fundamental in the work of a researcher: sharing ideas and results, promoting scientific debate and comparing honestly our point of view with different visions, is the best way to grow and improve ourselves.

AGU: What skills and knowledge, technical or non-technical, do you use in your work?

Silvia: In general, when I approach a new job, I try to use all my knowledge and skills, not only scientific, but also organizational and managerial knowledge, with the aim to plan the phases in which to articulate that activity and assign tasks, focusing on subject of study, methods, objectives to be achieved. In particular, I try to make use of my past experiences, accompanied by a good dose of common sense. The beginning of an activity is the moment in which all our knowledge can help us, even the knowledge apparently further from the specific field of our competences. Going forward in the activity, obviously I need to apply more strictly scientific methods and tools, specific for that research subject, both technical and theoretical, that are appropriate to develop new knowledge and results. Anyway, every time it seems to me that all the things that I have learned over the years, none excluded, are useful for achieving the goal, even those lying in some forgotten part of my brain.

AGU: Describe the most exciting part of your research or teaching

Silvia: Undoubtedly the most exciting part of my scientific activity is represented by the phase in which my team and I must confront ourselves with others, the phase in which we open ourselves to the scientific debate. Once the results of a study are known, they are ready to be shared with the scientific community through the publication. At this point, you can have positive or negative feedback, which in any case remain valuable and indispensable opportunities for scientific improvement: in the first case they are cause of great satisfaction, in the second one they are surely an opportunity for a scientific growth. In fact, a criticism leads us to re-examine and verify our reasons, to support them if we confirm their correctness or to review them if we have made mistakes. That’s the best moment of my scientific research activity, the moment in which I have to go beyond my possible rigidities.

AGU: Describe the most discouraging part of your research or teaching and how do you overcome this limitation

Silvia: In my experience, the most discouraging moment of the research is when the interlocutors, with whom I compare my work, are not willing to listen my point of view, showing a non-constructive attitude or even an attitude of total closure. When I’m not free to express my idea, or worse when external pressures are exercised on me, such as to prevent me from acting frankly, that is the moment of greater frustration. How to behave in these circumstances? It is difficult to remain open and well-disposed, but I believe that striving to find a dialogue is always the solution that in the long term can re-activate reciprocity.

AGU: What is something you wish you had known earlier in your career?

Silvia: I would have wished to meet someone who would tell me how to optimize my time and efforts, which activities did not deserve my energies and which ones could open important opportunities for me. A mentor, capable of transferring a long-term vision, is an indispensable figure for a young scientist who wishes to undertake research, especially in a field such as geosciences, which combine theoretical and practical aspects and need continuous updating.

AGU: What advice do you have for students considering a career in the Earth and space sciences?

Silvia: I'm convinced that science needs above all credible people and that our future on this planet needs an assumption of responsibility by all, without exception, scientists included. So, my advice for students who are approaching a career in Earth and space sciences is to always be true, to be the first to believe in what they are doing, to always ask themselves about their duties and responsibilities, and to be capable of combining their ideals with the concreteness of our wonderful and beloved geosciences.

Paths through Science:

StoryCorps Archive:


IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Friday, April 19, 2019

IAPG-Greece has a new co-coordinator

Maria Triantaphyllou has been appointed new co-coordinator of IAPG-Greece. She will lead the section together with Gerassimos Papadopoulos.

Maria is Full Professor of Micropaleontology-Paleoenvironment-Stratigraphy at the Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA, Greece) and Invited Professor in the postgraduate program of the Faculty of Geosciences, University of Lille (France). 

Gerassimos A. Papadopoulos
She holds M.Sc. in Regional Development (Panteion University Athens) and Ph.D. in Geology (NKUA). Her research interests focus on Micropaleontology and Environmental Micropaleontology, Stratigraphy, Paleoceanography and Paleoclimate, Geological Heritage and Geological Monuments and she is concerned to link scientific aspects with geoethics. She has published more than 100 papers, two books, and got more than 1800 citations. 

She is Coordinator of the joint M.Sc. program "Micropaleontology-Biostratigraphy" in NKUA; President of the Hellenic Committee for Paleontology and Stratigraphy of the Geological Society of Greece and Member of the Steering Committee of MECLIVAR network (Mediterranean Climate Variability and Predictability).

IAPG National Sections:

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Thursday, April 18, 2019

IAPG and BDG signed a MoA

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics and BDG - Berufsverband Deutscher Geowissenschaftler e.V. (Germany) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on 12 April 2019.

The aim of the MoA is to develop a coordinated approach, where appropriate, for promoting initiatives and events discussing the ethical, social, and cultural implications of geosciences, and favoring high ethical standards in the research and practice of geoscience in order to better serve society. The MoA expresses a mutual desire to cooperate on a range of themes in the field of ethics in Geoscience. It helps to assure a continued IAPG – BDG cooperation and coordination on issues of common interests, in particular, the following:

  • promotion of principles of ethics, research integrity, and professionalism in geoscientific activities among their networks;
  • definition of ethical issues, with accompanying case-studies, where appropriate, affecting the geoscientific community and organizations;
  • co-organization of scientific events to disseminate concepts of ethics in the geosciences, among both the professional and research communities, with particular attention to young geoscientists;
  • production of relevant publications and communications.

Both organizations will establish a liaison to ensure good information flow and cooperation

BDG (https://www.geoberuf.de/) founded in 1984, is the professional representation of geologists, geophysicists, mineralogists and other geoscientists in Germany. Its 2,200 members, thereof 130 corporate members, are mainly derived from industry and business, from governmental and administrative functions, from geo-consultancies and independents as well as from academic and research institutions. The BDG actively promotes the professional situation of the geoscientists in Germany by efficiently and prudently lobbying in public, politics, geo-related professions and organizations and by offering comprehensive services to its members. The BDG serves as a forum for the exchange of information and as a mediator between professional concerns and those of science and research. The BDG identifies and voices the rapidly changing job requirements and work qualification standards and proposes appropriate amendments to the academic curriculum of the geoscientific disciplines.

BDG officially supports the Cape Town Statement on Geoethics:

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics has 7 Affiliations, 19 Agreements, 2 Partnerships.

IAPG affiliations and agreements: 

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics: 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

IAPG in an AAAS Workshop in Washington:
a video of the IAPG President's talk

Stefano Tinti (IAPG President)
Stefano Tinti (President of the IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics) was invited to deliver a talk on the ethical aspects in the prevention and forecasting of natural disasters at the International Meeting of the AAAS - American Association for the Advancement of Science, entitled: "Acutely Ethical: Principles and Guidelines on the Use of Location-Based Data in Crisis Situations", dedicated to addressing the responsible use of geospatial data in response to human rights and humanitarian needs in crises.

The workshop took place in Washington (USA), on 20 March 2019.

The title of Tinti's talk was: "Geoethical issues in prediction and prevention of potentially catastrophic natural events".

Download the workshop agenda:

Download slides of Tinti's presentation:

Video of Tinti's talk:
IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics: 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Geoethics & Groundwater Management Congress
has new dates:
Porto, 18-22 May 2020

Here below a message by Manuel Abrunhosa (chair of the Organizing Committee):
"The postponement of the date of the Congress, from October 2019 to May 2020, was a necessity. This will certainly cause disruption in the personal, academic and professional life and schedules of the many colleagues involved in the organization, as well as of the participants who had intended to attend in 2019, and especially of all colleagues who have already done extraordinary preparatory work.
We all apologize for the inconvenience and send a big thank you for their valued involvement in preparing the Special Sessions, Field-Trips, working hard for their presentations, publicizing among peers and organizations, and in organizing work. And so many works are already done. We are counting on you, now without so much pressure, to go on and bring this challenge of connecting Geoethics and Groundwater Management to a safe Port(o).
The postponement will not significantly alter the structure already announced for Congress. The only planned change will be the holding of congressional sessions (18-19-20 May 2020) prior to the Field-Trips (21-22 May 2020).
We hope that the new dates will serve your interests and of a greater number of potential participants in this event that is already recognized of great importance and scope.
The postponement did not change the course of the unprecedented educational program in Geoethics and Groundwater we called the Side-Event which had already been launched in 2018. We got the registration of 18 secondary public and private schools from all over Portugal in activities involving almost all school years. As planned, we are already receiving the final tests of the work developed autonomously in the school community environment. The final tests are a 3-minute video and a written memoir that will be submitted to evaluation, taken in the form of a contest for which we intend to award prizes of a pedagogic nature to the students, teachers and schools better classified. The evidence of their work shall be made public. The Congress will proudly have an open session dedicated to the Side-Event with the awarding, for which we hope to receive sponsors. Our warm congratulations, right now, to the hundreds of people involved in this Side-Event."

We remind you that the International Congress: "Geoethics & Groundwater Management: Theory and Practice for a Sustainable Development" is a joint event IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics and IAH - International Association of Hydrogeologists.

Website of the Congress:

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics: 

Monday, April 15, 2019

IAPG and IAG signed a MoU in Vienna

Mauro Soldati (IAG) and Silvia Peppoloni (IAPG)
during the signature of the MoU.
IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics and IAG - International Association of Geomorphologists signed a MoU - Memorandum of Understanding on 10 April 2019, in Vienna, during the EGU General Assembly 2019.

Silvia Peppoloni, as IAPG Secretary General, and Mauro Soldati, as IAG President, signed the MoU.

The MoU expresses a mutual desire to cooperate on a range of themes in the field of Geoethics. It helps to assure a continued IAPG-IAG cooperation and coordination on issues of common interests, in particular, the following:

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

Both organizations will establish a liaison to ensure good information flow and cooperation.

Mauro Soldati (IAG) and Silvia Peppoloni (IAPG).
IAG - International Association of Geomorphologists (http://www.geomorph.org/) is an international scientific, non-governmental, non-political and non-profit association, whose principal objectives are the development and the promotion of Geomorphology as a science through international co-operation and dissemination of geomorphological knowledge between the scientific community and the general public. The IAG was founded during the Second International Conference on Geomorphology in Frankfurt/Main (Germany) in 1989 in order to develop, to promote and to strengthen Geomorphology through international cooperation. IAG fulfils its aims through the establishment of working groups and task forces, support the training of Young Geomorphologists from all around the world, and especially from less-favored countries, organization of international and regional conferences, publication activity and information exchange. Membership of the IAG is normally by countries. At present, over 40 countries are affiliated to the IAG through their National Scientific Members. IAG is officially based in Madrid, Spain, and its activity is steered by an Executive Committee.

IAG officially supports the Cape Town Statement on Geoethics:

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics has 7 Affiliations, 18 Agreements, 2 Partnerships.

IAPG affiliations and agreements: 

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics: 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The issue #1 - 2019 
of the IAPG Newsletter is out!

The issue #1 - 2019 of the Newsletter of the IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics has been released on 2 April 2019.


- Geoethics at the EGU General Assembly 2019
- VIDEO: Introduction to geoethics: definition, concepts, and application
- NEW BOOK: Exploring Geoethics
- International Congress “Geoethics & Groundwater Management”
- Geoethics Medal 2018 Ceremony
- Geoethics Medal 2019 – Call for Nominations
- IAPG Annual Report 2018 and Plans 2019 for the IUGS
- Ethical Guidelines for Research Infrastructures and Ethical Label Template
- IAPG is partner of the AGU Ethics & Equity Center
- IAPG has become an Observer Organization of the CFES
- IAPG and Geoscientists Canada sign a MoU - Memorandum of Understanding
- New coordinators of IAPG national sections
- Articles from the IAPG Blog
- Donations

Download the IAPG Newsletter #1 - 2019 at: 

Kindly, share this post and/or forward the IAPG Newsletter #1 - 2019 to your colleaguesThank you!

IAPG Newsletter archive: 

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics: 

Monday, April 1, 2019

IAPG at the
Geoscience & Society Summit

by Vince Cronin
(IAPG-USA Coordinator)

Panel presentation script
for the Geoscience & Society Summit
18-21 March 2019, Stockholm (Sweden)

Vince Cronin
I represent the International Association for the Promotion of Geoethics (IAPG) — a co-sponsor of the Geoscience and Society Summit (G&SS). The IAPG web address is written on the whiteboard behind me: http://www.geoethics.org. The IAPG is a young organization with sections in 30 countries on 5 continents, and a couple of thousand members.
Membership is free, and I invite you to join our merry band by going to our website and filling-in an online membership form.

I’'m also a proud member of AGU and would like to publicly express how grateful I am to Chris McEntee and all of the AGU leadership for their support of this meeting. I was particularly proud of AGU when the decision was made to move the meeting to the Bolin Center at Stockholm University. That action was an important expression of our community's ethics.

Doing what's right is often harder than the alternative, such as explaining the ethical issue away by saying that "It's just a business decision." The statement "It's just a business decision" is not an ethical justification — in fact, it's often an ethical abdication. Thank you for making what I believe was the right decision in holding the G&SS meeting at the Bolin Center.

With your indulgence, I would like you to think for a moment about why you came to this meeting in Stockholm. I suppose some of you were directed to come by your boss or supervisor. Some might have thought about what you hoped to learn or gain from this meeting – new knowledge perhaps, or new contacts. Others simply wanted to go to an interesting sounding meeting in an interesting place. All of those are fine thoughts.

Let me suggest two other responses. First, you came because of investments that you, your family, and society have made in you through whatever educational systems you were able to take advantage of. Hard work. Sacrifice.
Opportunity. Society expects that, as you move out into the world from your family and university, you will bear your added intellectual riches in trust for all of humankind (Paraphrased from James Blaisdell, a former president of Pomona College).

I know that sometimes you feel powerless, but in fact each of you is nothing less than an absolute treasure to all of humanity. All you need do now is find ways to serve, and that is what meetings like this are intended to help you with.

The second response I would suggest will seem odd to some, but let’s just see where this goes. I think you came because of the hope, faith, and love that is hardwired into you as a human being.

  • Hope in the power of society to solve its existential problems with useful input from science, engineering, and
  • technology, but always with human interactions in positive communities.
  • Faith that we have enough power to actually have a positive impact on the solution to these problems.
  • And love: the word that shall not be spoken at a science meeting? What about that?

My Jesuit friend Greg Boyle, with whom I went to high school, has written, "The wrong idea has taken root in the world. And the idea is this: there just might be some lives out there that matter less than other lives" (Boyle, 2014). Genocides are based on the false idea that some lives simply don't matter.

Our responsibility is to go stand with the poor and powerless so that there is no wall that separates us (Paraphrased from Greg Boyle’s address upon receiving the Laetare Award from the University of Notre Dame, accessible via https://news.nd.edu/news/rev-gregory-j-boyle-sj-2017-laetare-address/). So that there is no us and them, no ├╝bermenschen and no untermenschen, just us.

There are less than 100 participants at this meeting. There are currently 7.7 billion people on Earth – a number that has tripled in just the last 75 years. I would like to think that we are all here on behalf of those who can't be here, but who will need the expertise and efforts of the geoscience community to survive.
Never forget that those who lack wealth and power in this world — more than 90% of the human population of Earth, and all of the rest of the biosphere — will be disproportionately affected by the twin crises of climate change and the declining availability and quality of fresh water worldwide.

I assert that geoscientists have a moral imperative to work with and on behalf of this disadvantaged population as we find our way through these crises.

We must face our energy, water, and climate crises together. This sentence might seem to be merely an expression of practical necessity. But at its foundation, it is an expression of our concern for the wellbeing of others. Of our empathy. Of our morality. Of love.

OK, let’s just say that we are here because each of us, in our own way, want to help society navigate to a healthier future.

There is an ethical foundation to pretty much everything we do in geoscience, but the work we engage in at this meeting has a particularly strong ethical component. I encourage you to think about that fact.

One of the most important things that I am working on with IAPG and other organizations is to spread knowledge of the basic vocabulary and fundamental concepts of ethics as applied to our work, so we can engage in more substantial conversations. I would like us all to have a functional understanding of words and concepts like dignity, agency, respect, truth, uncertainty, integrity, human rights, power, virtue, utility, empathy, reciprocity, and justice in all its relevant forms, including environmental justice.

In this respect, there are two practical questions: [1] what is the minimal set of ethical tools that we should provide to every geoscientist to help them along their path, and [2] how can our community provide this knowledge to them freely and efficiently?

This is one of the few things I have committed myself to work on as long as I exist. I invite any and all of you to help us develop geoethics as a coherent field that is useful to geoscientists as we grapple with fundamental questions.

Some References and Sources

Boyle, G., 2010, Tattoos on the heart — the power of boundless compassion: New York, Simon and Schuster, 240 p.

Boyle, G., 2014, Barking to the Choir — the power of radical kinship: New York, Simon and Schuster, 210 p.

Vince Cronin’s contributions to the GSS 2019, available via http://croninprojects.org/Ethics-AGU-GSS2019/index.html




Other articles published in the IAPG Blog:

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics: