Geoethics in Science Communication: The Relationship between Media and Geoscientists

Franco Foresta Martin, Silvia Peppoloni


The themes addressed by geoethics are becoming central to all scientific debate. A growing number of scientists now consider geoethics as an effective tool to increase, in the scientific community and society as a whole, the awareness of local and global environmental problems that humanity faces. Geoethics deals with ethical, social and cultural aspects related to geosciences. Geoethics addresses fundamental issues such as the prudent and sustainable use of geo-resources, management of natural hazards, defence of geoheritage as a common value to be protected and enhanced. But above all, geoethics aims to raise, in the community of geoscientists, their awareness of responsibilities in conducting scientific and professional activity.

In order to extend this awareness to the whole of civil society and also to foster the recognition of the usefulness of geosciences in daily life, geoscience communication should be recognized as a fundamental activity connected with scientific and professional work, since geoscience knowledge is a tool to contribute to the construction of social knowledge for human communities. But today what is the role played by geosciences in the scientific mass culture? Are the geosciences part of a collective “cultural heritage”? Do the publishing world and media offer adequate space to geosciences?

Through the analysis of two Italian case studies, the authors highlight the critical features of the relationship between geoscientists and the media and try to suggest some actions that are useful to make the relationship between these two separate fields more functional, with the goal of bringing citizens closer to geosciences and increasing the awareness of the individual and collective responsibility towards the Earth.


geoethics; science communication; media; geoscientists; web churnalism

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