It is easy to forget that geology is the basis for human development everywhere. Whether it be for access to water, energy, minerals, or agricultural resources, geoscientific knowledge is critical to the success of human existence everywhere. Indeed, it is upon a foundation of geoscientific knowledge that human societies are built. Our reliance upon such knowledge will only increase in the years to come as we are faced with expanding needs for resources, increasing exposures to natural hazards, and the conflicts that accompany climate change, economic turmoil, and global poverty. We envision that talented geoscientists and engineers will be needed “everywhere and all the time” to solve problems that already plague us, as well as address new threats to our nations and to the planet.
The challenge of doing geology for the public interest is not for the faint-hearted. It requires an ability to imagine what a better world might be like and a concern for the future of others as well as your own descendants. It requires that you value benefits that will be gained in the future over benefits (typically financial) that may be more immediate, and an acceptance of the fact that you may not live to see those benefits.
It also requires you to consider the bigger picture and the impacts of time and a changing environment on your efforts today. As such, it requires you to meet standards that may appear unjustified now but that will be critical to future generations.
Geoscientists can count themselves as some of the most adventurous and self-reliant people on the planet, so faint-heartedness is not a question with us, but this kind of work is not accomplished by individuals acting alone. Critical to success overall is our ability to cooperate on a wider scale and across more boundaries than we have ever attempted before. We must use good science to collaborate and coexist, and we must find ways to help everyone imagine and create a better world for all of our children.
It is our children’s world for which we should be working, not ours. Please join us.