Monday, December 30, 2019

IAPG Short Course at the 36th IGC:
"Foundations and Perspectives of Geoethics"

Delhi (India), 5 March 2020

The IAPG School on Geoethics is glad to announce that it will take a short course entitled "Foundations and Perspectives of Geoethics" (WSC19) at the 36th IGC - International Geological Congress in Delhi, on 5 March 2020. 

Registration to the IAPG short course WSC19 is now open at:

This course is free of any charges; participants are selected on "First Come First Served" basis.

The proper and deep education on ethical issues in geosciences has been evolving in recent times, although not as quickly and deeply as necessary. Many of the professionals dedicated to Earth Sciences have been not in touch with such new concepts and tendencies as the concept of Geoethics. Geoethics is the research and reflection on the values which underpin appropriate behaviors and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system. Geoethics provides a framework from which to define ethical professional behaviors in both geosciences and engineering, and to determine how these should be put into practice for the benefit of society and environment. This Short Course goes is directed towards introducing and training geoscientists in those new concept and ideas.

Nic Bilham, Martin Bohle, Giuseppe Di Capua, David Mogk, Silvia Peppoloni, Iain Stewart

Course Content
1. From Ethics to Geoethics: Definition, Values, Tools (Silvia Peppoloni)
2. Responsible Conduct of Research and Professionalism (David Mogk)
3. Foundations & Examples, how to tackle (Geo)ethical Dilemmas (Martin Bohle)
4. Geoethics for Society: Sustainable Development and Responsible Mining (Nic Bilham)
5. Geoethics in Natural Hazards and Risks (Giuseppe Di Capua)
6. Geoethics in Geoscience Communication (Iain Stewart)

After completing this course, participants:
1. Will know the basic principles of ethics and how these lead to geoethics.
2. Will be aware of the dilemmas involved in making geoethical decisions.
3. Will have gained some experience in taking a geoethical approach to real world cases.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Monday, December 16, 2019

Defining geoethics

(by Giuseppe Di Capua and Silvia Peppoloni)

how to cite: 
Di Capua G. and Peppoloni S. (2019). Defining geoethics. Website of the IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics,

1) Consists of research and reflection on the values which underpin appropriate behaviours and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system [19, pp.4–5] [1, p.5] [24, p.30]. 2) Deals with the ethical, social and cultural implications of geoscience knowledge, research, practice, education and communication, and with the social role and responsibility of geoscientists in conducting their activities [7] [22]. 3) Encourages geoscientists and wider society to become fully aware of the humankind’s role as an active geological force on the planet and the ethical responsibility that this implies [24]. 4) Is considered a point of intersection for Geosciences, Sociology, Philosophy and Economy. 5) Its main issues and topics include: sustainable use of natural resources; reduction and management of natural and anthropogenic risks; management of land, coastal areas, seas and open oceans; pollution and its impacts on human health; global environmental changes, including the climate change; protection of natural environments; research integrity and the development of codes of scientific and professional conduct; literacy and education in geosciences; geodiversity, geoheritage, geoparks and geotourism; forensic geology and medical geology [24].
The ‘geoethical thinking’ (thinking about the implications and applications of geoethics) can be located within broader societal concerns about the responsible conduct of science and the science–society interface [3].
The word ‘Geoethics’ is the union of the prefix ‘geo’ and the word ‘ethics’. The prefix ‘geo’ refers to ‘gaia’, which means ‘Earth’ in Greek, but its ancient Sumerian base ‘ga’ refers more specifically to ‘home, the dwelling place’. The term ‘ethics’ was defined by Aristotle (384/383 B.C. – 322 B.C.) as the investigation and reflection on the operational behavior of humans, searching for legitimate criteria by which to evaluate behaviour and choices, and identifies that part of philosophy dealing with the problem to take decisions by the human agent [19] [23].
Ideas that underpin the conceptual foundations of geoethics can be traced back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when anthropogenic impacts on nature began to be recognised and documented [18] [5] [13] [12].
In the early ‘90, the word “Geoethics” began to be used to define the ethical and social implications of geosciences [25] [6]. The need to increase awareness of the ethical obligations of geoscientists' activity was formalised in 2014 [15], with the publication of the “Geoethical Promise”, a Hippocratic-like oath for geoscientists previously suggested in 2009 [8], proposed to be extended to include applied Earth system sciences [2]. It is included in the ‘Cape Town Statement on Geoethics’ [7], and translated into 35 different languages [17].
Initially developed as professional ethics (deontology) inside geosciences [26] [20] [16], and to frame inquiries on the responsible behaviour of professionals in geosciences and the societal relevance of geosciences [23] [3], geoethics is increasingly recognised as an emerging subject that goes beyond professional boundaries to inform human agents’ actions and societal decisions as a whole [1] [24], with well-established conceptual foundations and a developing framework for its practical application across a growing range of geoscience disciplines and sectors for assuring sustainable, safety and healthy conditions to human communities and protecting biotic and abiotic entities [22] [24].
The concept of responsibility is a central pivot in geoethics: the human agent sits at the centre of an ethical reference system in which individual, interpersonal/professional, social and environmental values coexist, underpinning their responsibilities at these four levels (named “the four geoethical domains”) [1] [19] [22] [24].
Values such as intellectual freedom, honesty, integrity, inclusivity, and equity, along with concepts such as geoheritage, geodiversity, geo-conservation, sustainability, prevention, adaptation and geo-education are proposed to society as references on which to base geoethical behaviours [21] [24].
The four fundamental characteristics of geoethics can be summed up as follows: a) human agent-centric, b) shaped as virtue-ethics, c) geoscience knowledge-based, d) with space-time context dependent approaches. Geoethics is a virtue ethics, placing at the forefront individual, responsible action based on the adoption of societal and professional reference values. Its development and application are led by scientists for the benefit of society, within a pragmatic, open and continuous revision process. Geoethics is grounded on geoscience knowledge to assure an informed and conscious approach to problems related to human-Earth system interaction. Geoethics is context-dependent in space and time and ethically sound choices may differ for similar ethical dilemmas: geoethics is shaped and informed by a strong awareness of the technical, environmental, economic, cultural and political limits existing in different socio-ecological contexts. [24].
In geoethics, the Kohlberg’s hierarchy of moral adequacy, that identifies six developmental stages for the moral reasoning, [10] [11] is considered as a reference scale for assessing the maturity of human–Earth system interactions [14] [4].


[1] Bobrowsky P., Cronin V., Di Capua G., Kieffer S., and Peppoloni S. (2017). The Emerging Field of Geoethics. In Scientific Integrity and Ethics: With Applications to the Geosciences (pp. 175–212). Special Publications 73. Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union; Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

[2] Bohle, M., & Ellis, E. C. (2017). Furthering Ethical Requirements for Applied Earth Science. In Geoethics at the Heart of All Geoscience. Annals of Geophysics, 60(7).

[3] Bohle M. and Di Capua G. (2019). Setting the Scence. In Exploring Geoethics, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 1–24,

[4] Bohle M. and Marone E. (2019). Humanistic Geosciences and the Planetary Human Niche. In Exploring Geoethics, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 137–164,

[5] Bonneuil C. and Fressoz J.-B. (2013). L’événement Anthropocène - La terre, l’histoire et nous (320pp.). Le Seuil. ISBN 978-2021135008.

[6] Cronin V.S. (1992). On the seismic activity of the Malibu Coast Fault Zone, and other ethical problems in engineering geoscience. Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, 24, (7), A284.

[7] Di Capua G., Peppoloni S., and Bobrowsky P.T. (2017). The Cape Town Statement on Geoethics. In Geoethics at the Heart of All Geoscience. Annals of Geophysics, 60(7).

[8] Ellis E.C. and Haff P.K. (2009). Earth Science in the Anthropocene: New Epoch, New Paradigm, New Responsibilities. EOS, 90(49), 473.

[9] Fressoz J.-B. (2012). L’Apocalypse joyeuse - Une histoire du risque technologique (320pp.). L’univers historique/Le Seuil. ISBN 978-2021056983.

[10] Kohlberg L. (1982). Moral development. In: Broughton J.M. & Freeman-Moir D.J. (Eds.), The Cognitive Developmental Psychology of James Mark Baldwin: Current Theory and Research in Genetic Epistemology, Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corp.

[11] Kohlberg L., Levine C., Hewer A. (1983). Moral stages: a current formulation and a response to critics. Basel, NY: Karger, ISBN 3805537166.

[12] Lewis S. and Maslin M.A. (2018). The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene (480pp.). Pelican. ISBN 978-0241280881.

[13] Lucchesi, S. (2017). Geosciences at the Service of Society: The Path Traced by Antonio Stoppani. In Geoethics at the Heart of All Geoscience. Annals of Geophysics, 60(7).

[14] Marone E. and Peppoloni S. (2017). Ethical Dilemmas in Geosciences. We Can Ask, but, Can We Answer? In Geoethics at the Heart of All Geoscience. Annals of Geophysics, 60(7).

[15] Matteucci R., Gosso G., Peppoloni S., Piacente S., and Wasowski J. (2014). The “Geoethical Promise”: A Proposal. Episodes, 37(3), 190–191.

[16] Mogk D.W. (2017). Geoethics and Professionalism: The Responsible Conduct of Scientists. In Geoethics at the Heart of All Geoscience. Annals of Geophysics, 60(7).

[17] Peppoloni S. (Ed.) (2018). Spreading geoethics through the languages of the world Translations of the Cape Town Statement on Geoethics, June 2018, International Association for Promoting Geoethics.

[18] Peppoloni S. and Di Capua G. (2012). Geoethics and Geological Culture: Awareness, Responsibility and Challenges. In Geoethics and Geological Culture. Reflections from the Geoitalia Conference 2011 (pp. 335–341). Annals of Geophysics, 55(3).

[19] Peppoloni S. and Di Capua, G. (2015a). The Meaning of Geoethics. In Geoethics: Ethical Challenges and Case Studies in Earth Sciences (pp. 3–14). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

[20] Peppoloni S., & Di Capua G. (Eds.) (2015b). Geoethics, the Role and Responsibility of Geoscientists (187pp.). Geological Society of London, Special Publications 419. ISBN 978-1862397262.  

[21] Peppoloni S. and Di Capua G. (2016). Geoethics: Ethical, Social, and Cultural Values in Geosciences Research, Practice, and Education. In Geoscience for the Public Good and Global Development: Toward a Sustainable Future (pp.17–21). Geological Society of America, Special Papers 520.

[22] Peppoloni S. and Di Capua G. (2017). Geoethics: Ethical, Social and Cultural Implications in Geosciences. In Geoethics at the Heart of all geoscience. Annals of Geophysics, 60(7).

[23] Peppoloni S. and Di Capua G. (2018). Ethics. In Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology (pp. 1–5). Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Cham: Springer.

[24] Peppoloni S., Di Capua G., and Bilham N. (2019). Contemporary Geoethics Within the Geosciences. In Exploring Geoethics, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 25–70,

[25] Savolainen K. (1992). Education and human rights: new priorities. In: Adult Education for International Understanding, Human Rights and Peace. Report of the Workshop held at UIE, Hamburg, 18–19 April 1991. UIE Reports, 11. Unesco Institute for Education, Hamburg, 43–48.

[26] Wyss M. and Peppoloni S. (Eds.) (2015). Geoethics: Ethical Challenges and Case Studies in Earth Sciences (450pp.). Amsterdam: Elsevier. ISBN 978-0127999357.

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Friday, December 13, 2019

The IAPG co-coordinator showcases geoethics at the Cameroon Association of Geoscience Colloquium in Yaounde (December 2019)

From the 4th to the 7th of December 2019, the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Yaounde 1 (Cameroon) and the Institute of Mining and Geological Research (IRGM), through the Cameroon Association of Geosciences (CAG), organized the second geosciences colloquium of Cameroon under the theme "Geosciences: Motivation of Sustainable Development". The colloquium had as objectives:

  • To present research results in the different geoscience branches.
  • To highlight geological and mining research in Cameroon and in Central Africa.
  • To discuss the importance of harmonizing research actions between Universities, Research Centers, and Mining Companies.

IAPG-Cameroon was officially present at this colloquium and participated in all its activities. During this period, IAPG Cameroon members were all dressed in the white T-Shirts of IAPG-Cameroon, which caused a lot of sensation and admiration from the over 300 participants. The visibility of the IAPG was greatly achieved. The following posters were presented:

  • Physico-chemical characterization of pollution levels in the Wouri Tropical Estuary in Douala, Cameroon, by some members of the Cameroon section of IAPG.
  • New Advances in Geoethics: The Activities of The International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG). This poster was presented at EGU General Assembly by IAPG Executives Giuseppe Di Capua and Silvia Peppoloni. This poster was a crowd puller and colloquium participants were curious to know more. IAPG Cameroon members took time to explain about IAPG activities and geoethics.

Also remarkable during this event was a presentation on the on "Geoethics: New paradigm in the practice of the Geosciences", by Prof. Njilah Isaac (IAPG-Cameroon Co-Coordinator - in the middle of the photo on the right). With the numerous enthusiastic questions that followed, this section is sure that the message went through and the practice of geosciences research will never be the same again. That same morning, the stand of IAPG was installed and this stand did not only have the posters but also carried some innovations. In preparing for the colloquium, IAPG Cameroon members pre-assembled some molecules of compounds youths should avoid and those that should be encouraged because geoethics starts from the individuals before evolving towards professional community and society. As the participants passed around, amazed at these molecules, they listened to explanations about their significance in the body and what ethical precaution to take. The following molecules were displayed:

No. | Molecule /crystals | Advice 
1 | Sodium Chloride | Reduce intake.
2 | Nicotine | Avoid.
3 | Guanine, Adenine, Deoxyribose & phosphate (Building blocks of DNA) | Avoid intake of some genetically modified foods.
4 | Diamond | Rehabilitate the mine after mining operations.
5 | Vitamin C | An antioxidant found in fresh fruit (increase intake).
6 | Vitamin B6 | A lack of this makes one irritable, sleepy and over-emotional (increase intake).
7 | H2O | Increase intake.
8 | Ethanol (found in beer and wine) | Reduce alcohol intake
9 | Methane, ethane | Avoid burning of fossil fuels (go for renewable energy).
10 | Sugar (sucrose) | Reduce intake.
11 | Paracetamol | A common pain killer (intake should be reduced).

The success in the visibility of IAPG during the colloquium can be well expressed by the increase in membership. IAPG Cameroon prepared and printed membership forms. This facilitated on-site registration to the Association. At the end of the event, 33 new members were registered to IAPG-Cameroon from Universities and Research Institutes as shown below:

Institution: Number registered
University of Yaounde 1: 22.
University of Buea: 2.
University of Bamenda: 2.
University of Douala: 2.
Institute for Mining and Geological Research: 2.
National Civil Engineering Laboratory: 1.
Western Institute of Mining Metallogeny and Petroleum: 1.
Teacher (Civil engineer): 1
Total: 33

In an interview broadcasted over the National Radio (CRTV) during the colloquium, Prof. Njilah Isaac emphasized that most of the research and geoscience practices in Cameroon do not follow ethics. That is why IAPG has come to sensitize and the actors on the importance of Geoethics. The importance of geosciences knowledge to the community was also highlighted.
The Cameroon Section of IAPG was established on December 23, 2015 through the appointment of Ndzishepngong Kelvin Ngwang as the Coordinator. Since then, the section has carried out some activities. On the 12th of November 2019, Prof. Njilah Isaac was appointed as the Co-Coordinator, and just within a short time, he has registered his name on the strategic development paper of IAPG by introducing IAPG and Geoethics to the University milieu in Cameroon. He has brought much life to IAPG and much is now expected in the next years from IAPG-Cameroon.


 IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Monday, December 9, 2019

Geoethics and Geological Risks

A new video released by the European Project GOAL

Silvia Peppoloni, research geologist at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Secretary General of the IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics, talks about geoethical aspects in geological risks.

The video is formed by 5 blocks entitled:

1) Geological risks and prevention; 2) Prevention as a value; 3) The risk scenario; 4) Geoethics in georisk management; 5)  How can geoscientists support society in the georisk defence? 

The video is part of the Intellectual Outputs (IO1) of the European Erasmus+ project GOAL "Geoethics Outcomes and Awareness Learning" ( IAPG is official partner of the project GOAL.

Here the link to the video:

Other videos on geoethics in the IAPG YouTube Channel:

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics: