Geology for Global Development

Back to Basics – Geology and International Development (Part 3/4)

How can an understanding of geology support and strengthen international development?


 #7 – Identifying, extracting and managing natural resources, including appropriate environmental protection and post-mining restoration. Minerals and other natural resources are used in every sphere of society – every mobile phone, every computer, every wind-turbine. The income these can raise, also offers an exciting opportunity for countries to promote development, investing in jobs, infrastructure and capital funds to support ongoing development work. Mining that effectively supports development requires an approach that is transparent, risk-averse and upholds human rights – as noted in the ICMM 10 Sustainable Development Principles.


 #8 – Environmental Management – Our understanding of the Earth’s past and current processes can help to inform and improve our management of key Earth systems to improve the natural environment, habitats, livelihoods and human wellbeing. It draws on many key geoscience skills, ranging from geochemistry, to environmental modelling. It encompasses areas already discussed (water, natural resources, hazard management) but also many other key areas, particularly contaminant (and medical) geology. An interesting example can be seen in the UK media today, where studies of mass extinctions and their relationship to ocean acidification in geological history can help us to improve our environmental management today –


#9 Geo-Education. Many of the ‪#‎GfGDBasics‬ #1-8 listed in previous days (e.g., water and sanitation, disaster risk reduction, environmental management) are topics where members of the public have information to input, and crucial information that they need to know. Integrating geo-education into the curricula of primary and secondary education empower communities with a knowledge that can be transformative.

For more images and key themes, see Part 1/4 and Part 2/4 of this series and keep an eye on our Facebook page over the coming days and weeks.
Joel is the Founder/Director of Geology for Global Development (@Geo_Dev) an organisation working to support geologists to make a sustainable contribution to the fight against global poverty. He is an interdisciplinary researcher, with a PhD in geography (natural hazards), and research interests in multi-hazard frameworks, disaster risk reduction, rural water projects, and sustainable development. This work has taken him to Chile, China, Guatemala, India, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Joel is currently based at the British Geological Survey, and tweets at @JoelCGill.