Why citizen geoscience?

What’s Prometheus doing today?: Human Niche & Citizen’s Geoscience: Why „citizen geoscience“ or „citizen earth scientists“ should be a feature of modern geosciences? Why is opportune to…

When ‚geoethics‘ (i) „consists of research and reflection on the values which underpin appropriate behaviours and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system“, and (ii) „deals with the ethical, social and cultural implications of geoscience education, research and practice, and with the social role and responsibility of geoscientists in conducting their activities“ (quote from IAPG’s outline of „geoethics“) then ‚geoethics‘ is as much about citizens as it is about geoscientists, their various lifestyles and different professional conducts, respectively.

IMG_0182Geoscience know-how is firmly knotted into many day-to-day activities of modern societies and the design of contemporary production systems and consumption patterns.

Examples to illustrate this perspective of engineering a human niche are many, such as (i) Civil engineering is about building visible intersections of the geosphere and economic activities; e.g. dredging a waterway, building a bridge or constructing a hydropower plant; (ii) a less visible intersection is the design of production systems and consumption patterns, which couple human activity and the bio-geosphere through fluxes of matter and energy; (iii) urban dwellings may serve as a further example; they are a visible intersection with the bio-geosphere and on they are coupled with the bio-geosphere through massive fluxes of matter and energy; e.g. receiving drinking water and ejecting waste water, receiving electric power or fuels and ejecting heat, receiving food and ejecting manufactured goods that at the end of their life-cycle are discarded or recycled elsewhere on the globe; (iv) as more as technology evolved as more convoluted get the involvement of geosciences, such as renewable energy from the wind and solar, local weather forecast of thunderstorms, sea wave forecast for shipping, or global position systems shielded against solar storms.

Under this perspective, a perspective of an anthropocentric Anthropocene, i.e.; human niche for a global population of billion people, geoethics is a common good that needs citizen involvement.

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