Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Geoscientists as social and political actors

by Silvia Peppoloni
(IAPG Secretary General)

Keynote at the Union Symposium 1 (US1)
EGU 2020: Sharing Geoscience Online

4 May 2020 (16:15-17:45 CEST)

Open to anyone and free of charge

Co-sponsored by

Silvia Peppoloni (IAPG Secretary General) has been invited by Alberto Montanari (EGU President) to give a keynote speech at the Union Simposium 1 “Best practices for scientific integrity and scientific freedom in an age of pandemics - and beyond”, that will be held at the EGU 2020: Sharing Geoscience Online on 4 May, from 16:15 to 17:45 (CEST).
Convenership: Alberto Montanari, Robin Bell, Hodaka Kawahata, J. Douglas Walker. The other confirmed speakers are: Jonathan Bamber, Chris McEntee, Claudia Jesus-Rydin, Jorge A. Huete-Perez.

The title of Silvia’s talk is “Geoscientists as social and political actors”.

Here her abstract: 
Geoscientists are at the fare front of informing on and supporting society to face global anthropogenic changes, at all levels. This requires making excellent science, in the full awareness of one's role towards society. Research integrity and professionalism are the bedrock on which the individual geoscientist can develop a deep sense of responsibility and build a functional science-society relationship, being conscious of the ethical obligations that this implies. It is precisely within the dyad individual-society that the utmost ethical and social value of the activity of geoscientists is achieved, as in this context they assume at the same time the dual role of moral subjects and social actors, and consequently can realize the meaning of being active and responsible subjects in the service of the human beings. In order to achieve this goal, each geoscientist should individually strengthen the perception of being: (a) a moral subject, therefore an agent consciously responsible for the own conduct and the ethical and social implications of own actions; (b) a social and political subject, who actively contributes to the construction of the idea of society, to the vision of its future, to its cultural and economic development, including the creation of a knowledge society based on the democratic value of shared responsibility. Within the ethical framework of reference in which geoscientists are called to act, there is an indispensable prerequisite, that makes possible the responsible action and allows behaving ethically: individual freedom. A cohesive, motivated, and responsible international geoscience community can assure a safe operating space to geoscientists and encourage them to follow best practices and ethical behaviours while conducting their activities, to qualify their work and recognize the value of a responsible action to counter abuses, intimidations and political pressures. This cannot simply be entrusted to codes of ethics and/or conduct, but demands an intense ethical training for the geoscientists, that shows them the numerous circumstances and difficulties that each one might be called upon to face during the scientific and professional career.

Download the Union Symposium 1 summary:

Join the online session Mon, 04 May, 16:15–17:45 (free of charge):

Read the list of keynote speeches and abstracts:

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics:

Friday, April 17, 2020

The issue n. 1 - 2020 
of the IAPG Newsletter is out!

The issue n. 1 - 2020 of the Newsletter of the IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics has been released on 17 April 2020.


  • Geoethics at the EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online
  • Geoscientists as social and political actors
  • Geoethics & Groundwater Management
  • 36th IGC rescheduled
  • The first book of the SpringerBriefs in Geoethics has been published!
  • Geoethics Medal 2020: Call for Nominations
  • Video: Geoethics and Geological Risks
  • The IAPG section of Turkey
  • IAPG-Cameroon has a new co-coordinator
  • Selection of articles on geoethics
  • 70th Anniversary of the CIPSH
  • Donations
  • WHO: Emergency Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic

Download the IAPG Newsletter n. 1 - 2020:

Kindly, share this post and/or forward the IAPG Newsletter n. 1 - 2020 to your colleaguesThank you!

IAPG Newsletter archive:

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Friday, April 10, 2020

Geoethics at
EGU 2020 Sharing Geoscience Online

text-based chat session

7 May 2020
08:30-10:15 (CEST)

This year EGU General Assembly will take place online, due to the Covid-19 emergency. EGU 2020 will be "EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online" (#shareEGU20).

EGU has created a page through which you can know more about:
- What are the possibilities for authors?
- What are the possibilities for conveners?
- How can I attend?

Kindly, read carefully information by EGU at:

Please, consider that "EGU2020: Sharing Geoscience Online" is open to anyone interested and is free of charge.

IAPG sponsors the session EOS5.1 entitled "Geoethics: how and why should geosciences serve society?"
Read here:

33 abstracts were submitted and authors have the possibility to upload presentation materials in addition to their abstracts (already available) from 1 April to 31 May 2020.

The list of authors and abstracts is available at:

Materials uploaded by authors will be displayed till 31 May 2020.

You may join this session on Thursday, 7 May 2020, 08:30–10:15 (CEST: Central European Summer Time), for a text-based chat session. Authors and attendees can actively discuss the presentation materials. Chats will not be recorded so that an open discussion is stimulated. There will be no live presentations or streaming for sessions.

Meet you online in the text-based chat on 7 May 2020, 08:30–10:15 (CEST), session EOS5.1 "Geoethics: how and why should geosciences serve society?".

You may invite your colleagues to take part to our online session. Read here for more information on how to attend:

#geoethics #geoetica #shareEGU20 #EGU20 #IAPG

Other events on geoethics in the IAPG website:

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Geoethics & Groundwater Management
Online Congress
18-22 May 2020

Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the Portuguese public health authority and the Government emitted directives and legislation that drastically restrict mobility, meetings, closure of education installations and non-essential activities, ordered home confinement and working online when possible. This made it impossible to proceed with the IAH+IAPG GEOETH&GWM’20 as a presential Congress.

The Organizing Committee anticipated the inevitability of the situation days before. Taking in consideration all options and under the motto "THE SCIENCE MUST GO ON", it was decided, as announced immediately in the congress website, to:

A) Keep the Congress.

B) Convert it into a 100% online Congress.

C) Reduce fees drastically.

D) Keep the date of 18-22 May 2020.

E) Keep and reinforce the editorial project to publish the Book of Proceedings by Springer.

F) Keep the Congress website with updated general information:

G) Setup a web platform to manage and run the new online Congress sessions with all accepted presentations and full dignity:

As a result of this new major update, we call your attention to the following:

1) The call for “last minute” extended abstracts is extended to 15 April 2020.

2) Delegates will not travel to Porto. We are very sorry for possible inconveniences in previous arrangements in travel and accommodation.

3) Authors will keep the chance to publish their peer reviewed extended abstracts in the book of Proceedings to be published in the ASTI series of Springer and to present their valued work at the now online Congress. In addition, after the conference the authors will be invited to submit, during 2020/2021, a full paper in Special Issue Springer Journal (

4) The foreseen thematic sessions will now be launched online along the week of 18 to 22 May 2020 including all received presentations. A full schedule will be posted in the Congress website.

5) The access to the online Congress sessions is granted and exclusive to registrants for an extended period of time so that all have the possibility to watch all Sessions at their most convenient time and place, even more than once. Registered viewers will have the opportunity to interact in differed time with the authors for questioning and clarifying any question, as usual in conferences.

6) Congress presentations keep being oral, poster and keynotes. All are based in the usual MS PowerPoint tool and must have added a voice narration as if they were presented live.

7) For harmonization, a mandatory template must be used, one for oral, one for poster, and another one for keynotes.

8) Specifications and instructions on how to use the MS. PowerPoint tool for image +text +sound (voice narration) are included in the respective PowerPoint templates.

9) The completed MS. PowerPoint Slideshow in autonomous run must have a maximum time of presentation of 3 minutes for poster communications, of 10 minutes for oral presentations and 25 minutes for keynotes. Please do no not exceed this limit.

10) Upon reception, MS. PowerPoint Slideshows produced by authors will be converted by the Congress staff in video mode for online visualization. Please do not convert by yourself.

11) The templates will be available for download in the Ex Ordo platform. Use yours according to an oral, poster or keynote presentation.

12) When completed you will upload your PowerPoint Slideshow (*.ppt or *.pptx in file extension) with your narration also in the Ex Ordo platform.

13) A non-extendable deadline for upload will be announced in the website, probably around 30 April 2020.

14) Delegates who already payed their fees before the new reduced fees were implemented will have a full refund of overpaid values according to the new table. As you may understand, due to all changes and the fact that we all, including Accountant, are working from home, may cause some delay. We are committed to act ethically and shortly.

15) Prior to 18 May 2020, registrants will have access to an e-booklet of the Congress containing all short abstracts, the planned schedule and all relevant information concerning the Congress.

16) Following the Congress, all registrants will receive by e-mail a Certificate of Participation mentioning own role.

17) The Organizing Committee succeeded to obtain to registrants and authors an extraordinary bonus of 40% discount to buy the hardcover and e-Book of Proceedings from the Springer Publisher (

18) To benefit all these features of the Congress, please complete your payment until 4 May 2020. When paying later some benefits may not be available.

Closing remarks

When the Organizing Committee decided to keep the Congress and convert it online, our thoughts were completely focused on the interest of all in the Groundwater related communities that had already trusted and involved.

It was not an easy decision. However, we Hydrogeologists are used to great challenges and know how to develop opportunities from difficult situations. Ongoing compromises had to be closed with minimum loss, new tasks suddenly jumped out of nothing to be accomplished in a short time. We believe in our skills, stay firm and move ahead in the defence of the security of all in these troubled times when survival of the individual and the society takes almost all attention under the menace of COVID-19.

We believe in each one of you and how you consider the conclusions of the IAH+IAPG Geoethics & Groundwater Management Congress so important as a major contribution to protect groundwater in the future.

This is your Congress. We are confident you will respond with courage and determination, as we noticed with the high-quality of the majority of extended abstracts and for sure in shaping a landmark book of proceedings to be published by Springer.

After all, we hydrogeologists are used to great challenges and know-how to develop opportunities from difficult situations.

This Congress will also be unique. We will see a first proposal to the science and knowledge community for a new transdisciplinary geoscience: HYDROGEOETHICS. It is emerging from groundwater science, technology, law, social sciences, arts, culture to support geoethical management of sustainable water resources, in the premise that groundwater is the main liquid freshwater in the planet that we need daily, everywhere.

As final words, the Organizing Committee thanks all authors from all continents coming from so many scientific and humanistic fields of knowledge that revealed their dedication to groundwater by submitting their extraordinary and insightful contributions. The transdisciplinary approach of groundwater is shaping in this conference its highest profile ever reached.

The IAH and IAPG under which we organize the Congress, and the many national and international supporting organizations that contributed to the dissemination of the Conference deserve a respectful thank.

Our appreciation is extended to the members of the Scientific Committee that dedicated their competence and time to a thorough scientific review (sometimes with 2nd round reviews) in improving the overall quality of the contributions and respecting the high-standards of Springer. A large part of the quality of scientific contributions to Congress is due to them.

Last but not the least, our deep recognition to the President of the Portuguese Republic that kindly grant his High Patronage. We believe this is due to the well-founded hope that the merits and achievements of all participants will make this Congress a landmark in Groundwater Science and Geoethics through innovative “theory and practice for sustainable development” with Hydrogeoethics.

Keep safe !

Warmest Regards,

Manuel J. F. G. Abrunhosa

President of the Portuguese Chapter of the IAH
Chair of the GEOETH&GWM’20 congress
Member of the IAPG Board of Experts 

Congress website:

Other events on geoethics in the IAPG website:


IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

70th Anniversary of CIPSH

2019 was the year of the 70th Anniversary of foundation of the CIPSH - International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences/Conseil International de la Philosophie et des Sciences Humaines (

For this anniversary, the CIPSH released a detailed brochure about projects, chairs, and members (download the brochure here):

The CIPSH is a non-governmental organisation within UNESCO, which federates hundreds of different learned societies in the field of philosophy, human sciences and related subjects.

The IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics is member organization of the CIPSH from August 2017.

Silvia Peppoloni (IAPG Secretary General) is member of the CIPSH Executive Committee

The IAPG works to developing theoretical and practical activities covering a wide range of contents comprising: philosophy of geosciences and history of geosciences thinking; research integrity and professionalism in geosciences; working climate issues and related aspects; geoethics in georisks and disaster risk reduction; responsible georesources management; ethical and social aspects in geoeducation and geosciences communication; geoethics applied to different geoscience fields including economic geology, paleontology, forensic geology and medical geology; ethical and societal relevance of geoheritage and geodiversity; sociological aspects in geosciences and geosciences-society-policy interface; geosciences for sustainable and responsible development; geoethical implications in global and local changes of socio-ecological systems; ethics in geoengineering; ethical issues in climate change and ocean science studies; ethical implications in geosciences data life cycle and big data; ethical and social matters in the international geoscience cooperation.


IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Monday, April 6, 2020

A geoethical approach to the territory: the case of the lower Tordera river and Delta, Catalonia, Spain

Francesc Bellaubí and Josep M. Mallarach

Authors are members of Silene (
Francesc Bellaubí is an IAPG member.

On January 23th, the Campus of Natural and Cultural Heritage of the University of Girona, the Centre for Advanced Studies of Blanes (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) and the platform SOS Costa Brava organized a conference to introduce geoethics in relation to the regression and disappearance of sandy beaches in Catalonia. This issue has a significant social and economic significance since sandy beaches support a tourist economic sector which attracted almost 20 million tourists last year (Institut d’Estadística de Catalunya, IDESCAT. Dades turístiques 2019). In the Catalonia Mediterranean coast regression is mainly due to the accumulative impacts of upstream dams retaining sediments, marine structures blocking sediment redistribution (sport harbours and marine breakwaters), and urbanization of coastal dunes and back shores (According to Pintó & Garcia 2016, over 90% of the coastal dunes of Catalonia had been destroyed or deteriorated by urban developments during the last 50 years), coupled with intensification of winter storms and see level rising linked to the climate change (According to the Laboratori d’Enginyeria Marítima & Centre d’Investigació dels Recursos Costaners de la Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, 75% of the sandy beaches are eroding and the average values of annual erosion are calculated at 1.7 m/year). Because of these impacts, only 25% of the Catalonia's coastal habitats are in favorable conservation status (Generalitat de Catalunya. Departament Territori i Sostenibilitat 2019, Avaluació de l’estat de conservació dels hàbitats d’interès europeu 2013-18).

The impact of the Gloria storm that strongly hit the Spanish Mediterranean coast during 22-24th January, obliged to postpone the event to March 5th and 6th. A few days before, a group of scientists had subscribed to the 'Manifesto for the Tordera' (Tordera is a small river flowing to the Mediterranean, 80 km northeast of Barcelona. It is one of the few rivers without dams in Catalonia. The Tordera ground water feeds the heavily populated coastal areas of Maresma), which proposes a number of detailed actions to be put in place in order to improve river and coastal management.

During the conference attended by over 50 public officials (municipal technicians), researchers and experts from different fields, six scientist discussed  how could geoethics invigorate the Table of the Tordera Delta and the lower Tordera river. The Table of Tordera is a civil society platform, created two years ago, that discusses governance issues, to move on shared values, before undertaking hasty reactive and reckless actions leading to human interventions on the territory. For the first time in this context the contributions under a geoethic’s perspective were discussed, both theoretically and in practice, during a participatory workshop, with some of the main local stakeholders.

But what do we mean, in this particular context, when we talk about geoethics? Geoethics brings an emerging perspective linked to the interaction of human activity with the physical world, in general, and with the practice of Earth sciences in particular, reflecting on the values with which humans relate to the geosphere (For a complete definition see: Di Capua G. and Peppoloni S. (2019). Defining geoethics. Website of the IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics). Geoethics promotes the ethical and social roles of scientists in conducting research practices and technological applications, as well as recognizing the duties and responsibilities that humanity has toward the earth  system that sustains living matter. This perspective involves a different way of managing the georesources such as water, soil and minerals not only from a utilitarian view but also taking into account the interaction between water, rocks and atmospheric cycles,  as a whole that generates and sustains the biosphere.

Thus, our rivers, our mountains and our beaches, our lakes, sustain human communities, which highlights the intrinsic value of the geosphere in an inseparable relationship that generates cultural identities. We can remember that particular place, that corner of river where I was fishing in my childhood, that forest where I walked with my partner, or that summit that I climbed in my youth. These forests and meadows the sea, the rivers or the beaches are permeated with experiences of ourselves and our ancestors, and constitute our identities. Those places are living  part of our history and ourselves, they  were there when we were born and raised and will eventually see us die and return to earth. Geoethics considers that there are deeper intrinsic or spiritual values- that link us with the land we inhabit, which is not inert, but alive and dynamic, and as such never ceases to interact with us.

Geoethical dilemmas can get us stuck in the endless debates on what should be done or not. Beyond that, however, there is the delicate questions of governance: who decides to do what and how rules are framed and legitimated. Good quality governance involves more transparent and participatory institutions, as well as more truthful, clear and accessible information for decision-making, which refers to ethical or moral principles. Indeed principles guide us in what we should do, but they do not tell us why. The deepest reasons must be found in ourselves, at the core of our relationship with nature, which is never independent of our relationship with others fellows.

The global environmental crisis we are immersed in is also a social crisis strongly related to a type of development that fosters unsustainable - destructive - rhythms of exploitation of the natural resources on which we all depend. The same values that inspire the relationship with our human fellows define our relationship with the geosphere.

Any significant intervention on the geosphere has effects at different levels and timescales on other humans. If we decide to make a  dam or a  desalination plant, if we want to make an environmental intervention on the beach for tourist use, such as replenishing sand extracted from adjacent sandy marine bottoms, or if we decide to protect a natural area of interest, we do it guided by certain values that are rarely explained. Often an attitude in line with the shared values involves a social cost, i.e. a "price to be paid". The social cost is the price of the responsibility by sharing the burdens when we make decisions, a kind of social and environmental solidarity: the extent to which we are willing to sacrifice of our 'consumerist' economic model for the sake of the common good, of present and future generations.

How can we promote this shared responsibility? How can we foster a dialogue of values that helps identify those of us who agree, to jointly build a social and environmental fair vision of the future, that is, adapted to the reality of natural cycles and rhythms? How do we imagine the landscapes, beaches, rivers, meadows or forests of our land for our children and grand children, for generations to come?

How should we pass on to our children and adolescents the testimony of the wisest and most inspiring values and memories we have received from our ancestors? Beyond the dialectics of winners or losers, a dialogic dialogue may reconcile us to others and to our land when we recognized them. It is about our roots, with the conviction that our values are not absolute, but only part of the truth, which can be enriched by the truth (or values) of others, and thus foster the growth, as a society, in order to respond to increasingly complex and difficult environmental challenges.

Finding the fragile balance between utilitarian and deeper -or intrinsic- values, those that give meaning to who we are as a person, or as a people, is not a simple task. When the ethical dilemma arises, how can we move towards environmental and social justice, with a deeply humble attitude of appreciation for what has been bestowed on us? Geoethics invites us to have a more respectful attitude towards the Earth and to life: to look around and to be amazed, to wonder, because everything is a wonder, as the medieval Catalan philosopher Ramon Llull taught appreciating everything we have received, with an attitude of reverence and deep gratitude.

The road is long and filled with traps. It is not easy to move forward, because it has to be redone, over and over, every time we realize that we -as individuals or society- have made a mistake. Humbly, we need to be able to relearn from personal and collective errors, which may be very significant during the last decades, with a critical vision that helps us identify what is really important, promoting discernment as a virtue. It will be the Earth, Mother Nature, and not us who will have the last word. And this decisive fact should makes us to rethink ourselves giving a new meaning to the Catalan anthem that we are "defenders of the Earth."

Other articles published in the IAPG Blog:

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics