Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Just published in the journal "Geoheritage"

Applying the Values of Geoethics for Sustainable Speleotourism Development

by Aleksandar Antić, Silvia Peppoloni, Giuseppe Di Capua

This article is open-access:

Antić A., Peppoloni S., Di Capua G. (2020). Applying the Values of Geoethics for Sustainable Speleotourism Development. Geoheritage, 12(3):73, 1-9, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12371-020-00504-0

Read and download the pdf here:

Establishing sustainable and responsible speleotourism development is a major challenge and involves complex activities. Adequate theoretical starting point is the application of geoethical values related to the conservation and protection of the caves to be used for touristic purposes. Positive and negative cases of human behaviors towards speleological geoheritage are discussed, in order to highlight what should be done in cave management to avoid malpractices and on what elements could be founded adequate strategies aimed at promoting sustainable speleotourism. This is important to tourism management organizations involved in the promotion of caves and in creating economic opportunities for local populations, while respecting cave ecosystems. Modern cave management must be focused on the protection of the cave ecosystems, finding ways to achieve at the same time an economic development of local communities. But this approach needs the adoption of a geoethical framework of values to be shared by all stakeholders involved so that successful cooperation can be achieved despite differences in interests and expectations. The aim of this paper is to raise the awareness about the need to apply the values of geoethics to speleotourism, stimulating new fields of discussion within the scientific and technical communities involved in studies and activities related to geotourism and geoheritage. The possibilities of developing new ways to manage caves, in order to promote a sustainable socio-economic development of local communities, have to be balanced with the protection of natural environments as much as possible. The proposed theoretical frameworks have the goal to increase the discussion on the best ways of connecting speleotourism to sustainable and responsible cave management, presenting two case studies, and pointing out potential solutions.


Other publications on geoethics in the IAPG website:

IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Monday, August 24, 2020

Geosciences for the Territory and its Ecosystems in a New Political Constitution for the Republic of Chile

by José Martín Cabello Lechuga*

Economic Geologist, Past President, Sociedad Geológica de Chile (Geological Society of Chile)
email: cabello.lechuga@vtr.net

José Martín Cabello Lechuga

The role of Geosciences in policy definitions on climate change, sustainable development, mineral resources, water resources, coastal edge, maritime resources and geological risks in the territory of Chile is fundamental considering the country's aspiration to move towards lasting well-being for all its inhabitants. Greater scientific input is then needed to support administration tools such as territorial planning and strategic environmental assessment, among others. 
Accordingly, for a New Constitution, it is recommended to include at least one preamble recognizing the country as a rich and diverse territory in terms of its biotic and mineral nature, the greatest value of which lies in the human beings who inhabit it with a commitment to protect and sustainably develop its environmental ecosystems, reflecting it in an appropriate territorial order, legal, political and administrative.
In addition, it is proposed to deploy the articles required in the detailed text of the New Constitution and the regulations of the institutions that allow us to comply with what is demanded for a new model of development that allows us to move towards an egalitarian, just and supportive society.

Keywords: Geosciences, Ecosystems, Constitution, Chile


The Earth is the only planet in the solar system that has succeeded to generate life thanks to its size and ideal position allowing the evolution of increasingly complex species, of which the human being is the most recent result. However, the incredible expansion of the human population, with all its activities over the last century, threatens to endanger the fragile and complex ecological balances that reign over the planet. 
Chile is a country characterized by its geological and biological richness that provides a very diverse privileged nature. A better understanding of how this territory evolves is the key to learning how to better respect its valuable environment and thus ensure the well-being of future generations. 
It has become vital to understand how ecosystems work throughout the country, so that we can accurately assess their available limits and resources, be able to manage and develop them in a way that respects the complex and delicate balance on which a future sustainable development depends. 
Significantly in native peoples there is a sense of integration with nature that is perceived today as part of the groups that defend the national territory and its environment (ONU,2007; Meza-Lopehandía, 2016). 
Fortunately, much of the public has understood that a new constitution is required, so the community has a good opportunity to contribute and incorporate into it a good scientific and technological knowledge specifically the Geosciences in pursuit of a better country.

National Context

It can be safely said that Chilean citizens have been frequently calling for structural changes in the political and social organization of the country for at least a decade. Thus frequently happened important critical expressions regarding the educational system, the planned system, vulnerability of our children, situation of the original peoples, growing inequality, areas of high contamination and the unequal situation of women. This culminates in October 2019 when a major historic social movement, forced the obtaining of a political agreement that will allow a Plebiscite that should approve the realization of a New Constitution (NC) with citizen participation by first time in the country history.
It is worth noting that other global parameters that are also growing in Chile are added to the national context: overpopulation in mega-cities, mass immigration, drug addiction.
As is easy to assume, the citizen requests of the above-pointed demonstrations highlighting the fundamental right to live in a pollution-free environment (Galdámez, 2018), will be relevant in the discussions to build the NC. 
But it adds additionally and virtuously the opportunity to make it a modern document that also includes the extensive scientific and technological knowledge available to citizens.  
Above all, because we are in a world context of global warming, scarcity of water resources and increased natural risks. In addition, is a country where the extraction of mineral resources is the main industrial activity.

Geosciences for the National Territory

The Republic of Chile territory is located in the convergent contact of the Nazca, Antarctica and South America tectonic plates. This determines much of the geological, geomorphological, and geophysical peculiarities of the country such as seismicity, volcanism, climate, and the abundance and variety of its marine resources, water resources, mineral and energy resources, soils, landscapes and mainly its varied living forms (Ministerio de Minería, 2003). These characteristics influence the country's economy, the environment, the quality of life and the cultural imprint of Chileans. 
Environmental pressures come from impacts from different productive sectors (Institute for Public Affairs, 2018). The deregulated economic development of recent decades showed increased pressure on the physical environment, causing deterioration of natural heritage, high dependence on external markets, increased economic and social inequalities, among other impacts. The inadequacy of the role of state as an auditor has been influencing not to stop this process.
Chile has an important endowment of natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable, and in the case of the latter highlights the international positioning of its reserves and its production of metallic and non-metallic minerals (Altomonte and Sánchez, 2016). Mining, while improving its processes, given the environmental standards demanded internationally by the increase in ore exploitation resulting from mining expansion and grades decrease, is putting a sustained push on the environmental costs of its extraction and transport. In addition, there are serious environmental passive problems resulting from abandoned dumps, tailings and closed mines that have not had a remediation of sites. 
Also, serious problems from the sometimes illegal extraction of water volumes affecting the level of aquifers have been found in recent years. In areas of the Altiplano, bofedales that provide food for camel species have been affected. 
With regard to the population and the social factor, the high population concentration in the Metropolitan, Biobío and Valparaiso regions create high environmental pressure in the ecosystems they occupy and on surrounding land. Alongside the population factor, poverty appears as one of the main challenges to have greater environmental sustainability. 
Climate change has become a physical pressure facing the country. Highly attributable to this phenomenon are the anomalies of extreme temperatures and precipitation, the mega drought, the increases in sea temperature, the frequency and intensity of the tides and the narrowing of the beaches, as well as the acidification of the sea and the accelerated diminution of the glaciers. 
Almost all the forecasts and models that project the effects of climate change in the future suffer from the failure to consider the amount of natural resources as constant, as well as the absence of ecosystem deterioration. 
Unfortunately, a more comprehensive and effective tactic has been lacking, therefore no using growth policy on the basis of the higher purposes of a state strategy: improving the quality of life of Chileans, based on environmentally sustainable development. 
This complex context requires improving our understanding of the science-political interface to encourage correct and well-informed decision-making based on correct interdisciplinary information. It is even being proposed that the Earth may be the subject of law as a human right (Gilbert, 2013). 
For its close relationship, the role of Geosciences in political definitions on climate change, sustainable development, mineral resources, water resources, coastal edge, maritime resources and geological risks in Chile is fundamental considering the country's aspiration to move towards lasting well-being for all its inhabitants (Sociedad Geológica de Chile, 2005). In addition, greater scientific input is needed to support administration tools such as territorial planning and strategic environmental assessment (Hervé, 2010).

Constitution and Governance

The Political Constitution is the highest and supreme law of a country or state. It specifies the main rights and duties of its participants, and defines the structure and organization of the State. Conceptually, it is the fundamental legal order of the community. It lays the guiding principles under which political unity should be formed and the tasks of the State should be assumed. It contains the procedures for resolving conflicts within the Community.
Governance is defined as interactions and agreements between rulers and governed, to create opportunities and solve citizens' problems, and to build the institutions and norms needed to bring about those changes. For both concepts considering what has already been expressed, it is essential to enrich their future effectiveness by clearly incorporating into them all the knowledge developed by professionals dedicated to Earth Sciences. Thus the Geosciences can administratively complement the territorial characteristics that favor the expression of a singular biology from north to south and from mountain range to sea (Ministerio del Medio Ambiente, 2017).

Constitutional Proposal from the Geosciences

Accordingly, it is proposed that in a future Political Constitution of the State should be incorporated as a preamble the following: 

"Chile is a tricontinental multi-national gender parity Democratic Republic with a rich and diverse territory in terms of its biotic and mineral nature, the greatest value of which is in the human beings that inhabit it so that the State and its Constitution are committed to protecting and sustainably developing all environmental ecosystems mainly their relevant components : anthropological, biological, geological, maritime, geographical, historical, social and cultural which should be reflected in an appropriate territorial, legal, political and administrative order that is also complemented and developed with a public and free educational system that is relevant and permanent."

From this preamble it is proposed to develop with the appropriate legal support, the articles that are required in the detailed text of the New Constitution and the regulations of the institutions that allow future governments to comply with what is required for a new model of development that allows the entire republic to move towards a more egalitarian, just and supportive society.


Altomonte H. and Sánchez R.J. (2016). Hacia una nueva gobernanza de los recursos naturales en América Latina y el Caribe. Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe(CEPAL), Santiago de Chile, 258 p.

Galdámez L. (2018). Constitución y medio ambiente: algunas ideas para el futuro. Revista de Derecho Ambiental. Año VI N° 9, p. 72-92.

Gilbert J. (2013). Derecho a la Tierra como Derecho Humano: Argumentos en favor de un Derecho Específico a la Tierra. Sur-Revista Internacional de Derechos Humanos. p. 123-145.

Hervé D. (2010). Noción y Elementos de la Justicia Ambiental: Directrices para su Aplicación en la Planificación Territorial y en la Evaluación Ambiental Estratégica. Revista de Derecho, Vol. XXIII–No 1, p. 9-36.

Instituto de Asuntos Públicos (2018). Informe País: Estado del medio Ambiente 2018, Centro de Análisis de Políticas Públicas ,42 p.

Meza-Lopehandía (2016). Territorio indígena en el derecho chileno. Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional de Chile. Departamento de Estudios, Extensión y Publicaciones, 7 p.

Ministerio de Minería (2003). Institucionalidad Geológica en Chile y Propuestas de Acción en Materias Geológicas en el Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería. Documento final del Grupo de Trabajo Especial del Ministerio de Minería. Informe Inédito, 13 p.

Ministerio del Medio Ambiente (2017). Estrategia Nacional de Diversidad 2017-2030, GEF, PNUD, Ministerio del Medio Ambiente –Gobierno de Chile, 102 p.

ONU (2007). Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas. Resolución aprobada por la Asamblea General, 19 p.

Sociedad Geológica de Chile (2005). Chile y su Institucionalidad Geológica: Necesidades Críticas en el Siglo XXI, Declaración Pública, 4p.


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IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

Monday, August 3, 2020

The IAPG section of Chile

Welcome to the IAPG section of Chile! 

The section is officially established on 15 July 2020 and will work under the responsibility of Luisa Pinto Lincoñir (University of Chile).

IAPG-Chile is also the Geoethics Group of the Chilean Geological Society (SGCh), as established by the agreement signed on 15 July 2020 by the IAPG and the SGCh.

Luisa Pinto Lincoñir
Luisa is a geologist who graduated from the University of Chile and a professor in the Department of Geology at the same institution since 2003. She obtained her Ph.D. degree in Earth Sciences from the Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France (2003). She is currently the Director of the School of Engineering and Sciences of the Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences of the University of Chile (2018-2022) and has just assumed the role of coordinator of the section in Chile of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG, https://www.geoethics.org/) (2020-2021). Her research is focused on syntectonic sedimentation, tectonic geomorphology, and regional geology. Professor Pinto is currently leading a research project to understand the influence of tectonic fault activity in the construction of the Andes Mountains in Central Chile. Throughout her academic career, she has focused on her teaching training for innovation in Geology courses, among which are Geology of Chile, Field Geology and Geoethics. Within the framework of the 2030 Engineering and Sciences Project (Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, University of Chile), she is currently developing the iGea Program for First-Year students, inspired by the Terrascope and D-Lab programs at MIT, which seeks to create engaging learning experiences for students, allowing them to play a leading role in tackling engineering and science challenges and solutions, working with real problems faced  by Chilean society and using service learning teaching. In her role as School Director, she is currently developing the ‘Delta teaching innovation initiative’, which seeks to make the teaching-learning system of the School of Engineering and Sciences more flexible, develop routes of innovation for students throughout their academic progression with focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (UN), in connection with real problems in Chilean society.

IAPG-Chile is the thirty-second section of the IAPG.

Spanish version

Luisa Pinto Lincoñir es geóloga graduada de la Universidad de Chile y académica del Departamento de Geología de la misma institución desde el año 2003. Obtuvo su grado de Doctora en Ciencias de la Tierra en la Universidad Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, Francia (2003). Es actualmente Directora de la Escuela de Ingeniería y Ciencias de la Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas de la Universidad de Chile (2018-2022) y acaba de asumir el rol de coordinadora de la sección en Chile de la Internactional Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG, https://www.geoethics.org/) (2020-2021). Su investigación la ha enfocado en las líneas de sedimentación sintectónica, geomorfología tectónica y geología regional. Actualmente lidera un proyecto de investigación para comprender la influencia de la actividad de fallas tectónicas en la construcción de la Cordillera de los Andes en Chile Central. A lo largo de su carrera académica ha puesto un especial foco en su capacitación docente para la innovación en cursos de Geología, entre los cuales destacan Geología de Chile, Geología de Campo y Geoética. En el marco del Proyecto de Ingeniería y Ciencias 2030 de la Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas de la Universidad de Chile, actualmente está desarrollando el Programa iGea para estudiantes de Primer Año, inspirado en los programas Terrascope y D-Lab del MIT, el cual busca crear una gran experiencia de aprendizaje para los estudiantes, permitiendo su protagonismo en la definición de desafíos y soluciones de ingeniería y ciencias, con desafíos reales de la sociedad chilena y en vínculo con el medio. En su rol de Directora de Escuela, actualmente está desarrollando la iniciativa de innovación docente Delta, que busca flexibilizar el sistema de enseñanza-aprendizaje de la Escuela de Ingeniería y Ciencias, desarrollar rutas de innovación para los estudiantes a lo largo de toda su progresión académica con foco en los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ONU) y en vínculo con problemas reales de la sociedad chilena.

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