Since 1998 the American Geosciences Institute has been running an annual celebration of all things geoscience – Earth Science Week. From its inception, Earth Science Week has grown in popularity and is now celebrated across the planet. This year Earth Science Week will run from 11 to 17 October and the theme of the week is “Earth Materials in Our Lives.” As the American Geosciences Institute say on their website:
The coming year’s event will focus on the ways that Earth materials impact humans — and the ways human activity impacts these materials — in the 21st century.
For EGU, although every one of our Divisions does work that relates to this idea, this theme ties very closely with the work of one of our Divisions, the Energy, Resources and Environment Division (ERE). Our EGU Head of Media and Communications Terri Cook, spoke to the deputy Division President Viktor Bruckman, to find out his thoughts about how Earth’s materials impact humans and what this means for the Energy, Resources and Environment Division.
What is the Energy, Resources and the Environment Division?
Energy, Resources and the Environment is among the most interdisciplinary divisions within EGU. Our members work on issues around natural (geoscience) resources, exploration, and the development of renewable energy of all kinds (wind, hydrological, solar, geothermal, biomass).
Why does the Energy, Resources and the Environment Division include ‘Environment’ and not just Energy & Resources?
Because an important focus of our division is to assess the impacts of resources exploration and energy generation on our environment. This can be linked to climate change, biodiversity and Agenda 2030, for instance.
Why is interdisciplinarity needed to meet the challenges of providing reliable and affordable supplies of energy and other Earth resources?
Because we are investigating natural systems. A systems approach typically includes various scientific disciplines to assess specific problems. Such problems (e.g. generation of renewable energy) are not trivial and need interdisciplinary research.
Regarding the Earth Science Week theme: What are some of the future challenges of providing reliable and affordable supplies of Earth materials?
This has several aspects: First of all, there is a strong political influence here, and this is associated to equal distribution of Earth materials. The second dimension is the efficiency of its use (less material consumption, more cascading use or recycling) and the third dimension is extraction with low environmental impact. It needs to be mentioned that I am talking about materials that are typically non-renewable resources (at least in human time-scales).
Interview by Terri Cook, EGU Head of Media and Communications
During Earth Science Week itself, we are going to be sharing resources from the blogs of many of our partner societies, such as AGU, the Geological Society of London and GSA, as well as our own blogs, looking at an A-Z of how we can think about the ways that Earth materials are present in our lives.
If you want to get a head start, take a look at the full list now!
A is for Aquifer
B is for Bio-engineering
C is for Copper
D is for Diamond
E is for Evaporites
F is for Fracking
G is for Gold
H is for Hydrocarbons
I is for Iron
J is for Jade
K is for Kaolinite
L is for Lithium
M is for Mining landscapes
N is for Nickel
O is for Open Access
P is for Peat
Q is for Quartz
R is for Radioactive Waste
S is for Soil
T is for Titanium
U is for the UN Sustainable Development Goals
V is for Vitrified rock
W is for Water
X is for X-Rays (give us a break X is tricky!)
Y is for Yttrium (and other Rare Earth Elements)
Z is for Zinc