The role of geoscientists in human progress

Stefania Lucchesi, Marco Giardino


Like any science, geology has a key role in the development and progress of human culture and society. In this context, scientists, professionals and practitioners of Earth sciences must inevitably confront themselves with the purposes, methods and results of their studies, concerning relationships between man and his environment, which thus deals with ethical questions. An essential base for any geo-environmental action should be respect for the natural ecosystem. This can be achieved by encouraging an ‘affectionate attitude’ towards Nature or ecology. Some ancient cultures had a great awareness of the close relationships between humankind and the Earth. The recent web-based ‘Museo Torino’ (Turin Museum) multimedia product shows the ‘history of a city’ (Turin, Italy) in a dimension of unity and as a continuum of space–time–life between the history of the Earth and of humans. Geoscientists are not limited to merely having a pragmatic vision of the Earth, but should pursue harmonious collaboration between man and Nature. Within complex Earth systems, scientists and professionals rediscover their geoethical roles by responsibly evaluating and managing georesources, for progress aimed at improving conditions of life and human dignity. Geoscientists can also promote respect for ‘human rights’ through appropriate educational and training actions, for the balanced exploitation of our georesources. An example from Mendoza (Argentina) is presented here, to encourage opportunities for meetings on environmental issues among people of different backgrounds and cultures. Last, but not least, there is the ethical role of geoscientists in ‘the service of the truth’. A misleading view of Earth systems by geoscientists can lead to fatalism or myths that often affect people from the psychological and sociological points of view.


Geoethics; Environment; Sustainability; Scientific communication

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X