Geology for Global Development

Geology for Global Development

#EGU16 – Sessions of Interest

EGU2016-700x161The EGU General Assembly 2016 takes place in Vienna between the 17-22 April 2016. Abstract submission is now open for their fantastic range of sessions, with support applications open until 1st December 2015. These offer financial support to early-career scientists and established scientists from low, lower-middle and upper-middle income countries.

We’ve noted some sessions of immediate relevance to our work below:

SDGsEOS15: Geoscience and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (No Abstract Processing Charges)

In September 2015 the Global Goals for Sustainable Development’ (Global Goals) were formally adopted by member states of the United Nations. Building on the Millennium Development Goals, the Global Goals aim to eradicate global poverty, end unsustainable consumption patterns and facilitate sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection over 15 years (2015-2030). Achieving the Global Goals by 2030 will require many communities to engage, including the geosciences. Many of the themes within the Global Goals are at the heart of geoscience education, research and practice (e.g., sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation, disaster risk reduction and resilient cities, climate change). The geoscience community should be ready and equipped to take a leading role in promoting and facilitating responsible Earth stewardship, for the public good and global development. In this session we welcome abstracts from across all divisions that demonstrate examples of, or ideas for, effective engagement with the Global Goals. Recognising that these goals are at an early stage of implementation, we particularly encourage abstracts that offer (i) creative ideas to improve the involvement of geoscientists in the fight against global poverty, (ii) lessons learnt from engagement in the Millennium Development Goals, (iii) insights into the transitions required within geoscience education, research and practice to support sustainable development, (iv) case studies of meaningful stakeholder participation and technical capacity strengthening, and (v) case studies of public sector/private sector/civil society partnerships to promote sustainable development. Through this session we aim to collate and develop strategies for sustained, effective geoscience engagement in the implementation of the Global Goals. The best format for the session will be determined based on the abstracts submitted, however we believe that a PICO session may be the best option to promote dialogue and interaction.

Last year this session included a dynamic discussion session, posters and short-course on 'natural hazards demonstrations'

Last year this session included a dynamic discussion session, posters and short-course on ‘natural hazards demonstrations’

NH9.3:  Natural Hazards Education, Communications & Science-Policy-Practice Interface

This session addresses knowledge exchange between researchers, the public, policy makers, and practitioners about natural hazards. Although we welcome all contributions in this topic, we are particularly interested in: (i) The communication (by scientists, engineers, the press, civil protection, government agencies, and a multitude other agencies) of natural hazards risk and uncertainty to the general public and other government officials; (ii) Approaches that address barriers and bridges in the science-policy-practice interface that hinder and support application of hazard-related knowledge; (iii) The teaching of natural hazards to university and lower-level students, using innovative techniques to promote understanding. We also are specifically interested in distance education courses on themes related to hazard and risk assessment, and disaster risk management, and in programmes for training in developing countries. We therefore solicit abstracts, particularly dynamic posters, on all aspects of how we communicate and educate the better understanding of natural hazards. The ability to have graphic screens at poster sessions is available (if pre-ordered through EGU), as is a location to put hands-on demonstrations or other material. We welcome both oral and poster presentations, and hope to ensure ample time for discussion.

Read an article reflecting on this session at EGU15

Guatemala City

Guatemala City

NH9.5: Urban Hazards and Risk in Developing Countries | PICO Session

This PICO session will address natural hazards and risk in urban areas of developing countries, including the role of humans in magnifying or decreasing those hazards. In urban areas of developing countries, hazard and risk analysis presents challenges such as (i) data collection, (ii) rapid informal and unplanned development creating large demands on services and infrastructure, (iii) complex natural-human systems, (iv) limited resources and capacity, (v) interaction of natural and anthropogenic hazards including cascading and concurrent hazards and (vi) communication between science, policy and the public. Here, we define “developing countries” as countries/regions with a low to medium human development index, according to the United Nations. We welcome submissions from a range of stakeholders to share their innovative theoretical and practical ideas and success stories of how urban risk can be understood and addressed in cities and towns across developing countries. Presentations will cover a variety of topics including: database and archive construction; modelling, instrumentation and tools; conceptual understanding of multi-hazards and complex natural-technological systems; and communication and policy. We anticipate a lively discussion and the sharing of best practice and novel ideas to reduce the impact of hazard events in urban areas across developing countries. This session is particularly topical given that the internationally-agreed ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ have included (Goal 11) the need to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Other sessions:

Guest Blog: Autumn Reflections

Cecilia Reed (aka Lady Rock) is a volcano and geology enthusiast, film-maker and communicator based in London, UK. She has previously published a really interesting series of videos relating to volcanic activity, culture and the local environment in Central America. Cecilia has kindly allowed us to republish this post from her Tumblr site, introducing her latest video series and reflecting on the nature of geology around us. 

AutumnAs autumn truly sets in, the downpour of gold and orange leaves drift along with the wind and the irregular cold showers encourage us to stay indoors, dry and safe. In my case, with a warming cup of tea and slice of cake! One cannot deny that this season is the perfect time for reflection. Reflection on the past and things that have been. Reflection on the here and now. Reflection on the things that could be.

Taking a leaf out of Beatrix Potter’s many colourful children’s’ storybooks, I find myself in the Lake District, in the North of England – doing exactly this.  What better place to reflect than hiking along a fine ridge path surrounded by ancient, rugged, awe inspiring mountains, babbling brooks and thunderous grey clouds. I find it wondrous to think that the land underneath my feet was once a breadth of impressive volcanic activity; suffocating these lands with aggression, power and energy. Calmed over the course of time by the gentle persuasion yet strength of water and ice tirelessly reshaping this landscape. I wonder how it might look in the future and am grateful to the wonderful work of geologists like Hutton and Lyell who have given us the grounding to understand and better predict our future.

Knowing that the present is the key to the past, and therefore potentially the future; I choose to reflect on my now. My current present is living in London City. A very different scape to the one I have chosen to reside in for the Half Term holiday season. Yet, one that also has its own vibrant geological stories. A hedonistic mix of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks from all around the globe have inspired me to create my next video web series, “Secrets of London”. The thousands of city workers who trudge through the city streets, often in their own thoughts, whether it be on the past, present or future often have no idea that they are walking past the belly of a volcano, or that they’re whatsapping through a phone that wouldn’t work without certain core minerals. A vital connection with mother Earth has sadly been lost and forgotten.

After attending this year’s Geology for Global Development’s annual conference, I felt inspired to write this piece. It was stimulating to see so many women and men who clearly understand very well their own connection with our earthy planet; sharing their current work in helping to develop a more sustainable future for our society and world. It left me wondering what others can begin to do, who maybe don’t have any prior geological knowledge, to help produce the same sustainable goals. A quote from the Dao de Jing sprang to mind. ‘Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ The answer is in front of us everyday. It’s in the very paths we walk along and the buildings that surround us. It’s in the water we drink and wash in as well as the very food that nourishes our bodies. Only by understanding and appreciating what we have in the present, can we possibly move forward and progress in life. To me, Geology is like Pylades, the Ancient Greek silent friend – always there, always strong, ready to teach us on the journey of life when we are open, willing and ready.

So, whilst I develop this future series by reflecting on what surrounds me in the here and now, I ask you to reflect too. What do you have in the present that may have been temporarily forgotten and needs a little appreciation?

You can follow Cecilia’s work on her Tumblr site. If you’d like to learn more or contribute to Cecilia’s video series “Secrets of London” then please do get in contact through our website and we’ll be sure to pass on the message. 

Geology and the Sustainable Development Goals – Conference Resources

10422258_987125631348288_2757422022185646568_nLast week Geology for Global Development gathered 125+ students, recent graduates and professionals to consider the role of the geosciences in the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Hearing from speakers in industry, academia, government, the public sector and civil society – we considered how we can contribute over the next 15 years to their aims of ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality/injustice, and ensuring environmental sustainability.

We’ll be writing a report of the event and sharing some key messages over the coming weeks. In the meantime you can find a wide range of resources from the event, including photographs, associated reading and PowerPoint slides on our conference web page.

We’re looking forward to continuing discussions on Geoscience and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development at the EGU General Assembly (2016), where we hope to co-convene a session on this topic (abstract submission now open).

Geology and the Sustainable Development Goals

Last month the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs) were formally adopted by member states of the United Nations. Building on the Millennium Development Goals, these 17 ambitious goals aim to end global poverty, fight injustice and inequality, and ensure environmental sustainability over a 15 year timeframe (2015-2030).

The 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development 2015–30 (United Nations, 2015)

The 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development 2015–30 (United Nations, 2015)

Achieving the SDGs by 2030 will require many sectors to engage, including the geological sciences. Many of the themes within the SDGs are pertinent to geological research and practice. This gives all of us an exciting opportunity to take a leading role in promoting and facilitating responsible Earth stewardship, ensuring sustainable and equitable foundations for future global development. Geology students, educators, researchers, industry professionals, public servants and policymakers can all contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

This Friday (30th October) we are very pleased to be welcoming 150+ geologists, mainly students and recent graduates, to the 3rd Geology for Global Development (GfGD) Conference ‘Geology and the Sustainable Development Goals’. We believe it to be the first major gathering of geologists anywhere in the world to explore these goals. We stand on the shoulders of many other organisations that have shown a consistent commitment to the practical application of our discipline to addressing challenges of global hardship, inequality and vulnerability. This commendable record must not result in complacency however, or a belief that effectively engaging with development is the responsibility of a few specialist groups or organisations. If we are to effectively serve society over the coming decades, we must all evaluate our roles in eradicating global poverty and facilitating sustainable development.

This Friday we’ll be starting a discussion into what it is that GfGD should be doing to mobilise and equip the geology community to engage with the SDGs. What changes need to be made to geoscience education to prepare geologists to engage? How can we adapt and leverage our research to increase impact in low-income countries? What sort of engagement do we need to have with the private sector and civil society to ensure an understanding of geology is available to local and national development planning?

Our conference is the start of this discussion process, not the end. We hope to expand the conversation into many other forums, countries and continents in the coming months and years.

Read more about our conference:


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