About GIP

Geology in the Public Interest (GPI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in the Seattle area comprised of geologists and engineers who are educated and experienced in earth science, engineering, and mineral resource development, and who have extensive background working in developed and undeveloped countries around the world.

We apply our skills to further the common good and enable the resolution of environmental and social challenges that may not be addressed otherwise. We do this by:

  • Building bridges to further collaboration between geoscientists and other disciplines,
  • Working to enrich public understanding of the earth sciences and how they can be utilized at the grassroots level to protect future generations,
  • Advising resource-poor communities on measures they can take to advance their resilience and sustainability, particularly those communities that live with a legacy of natural resource exploitation, and
  • Facilitating the judicious application of geoscience and geoengineering where they can make a significant impact in mitigating environmental and social deficits.

There are many places where geologists and engineers are needed to solve geoscience-related problems that affect people and the environment. Geologic hazards (landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes) affect people significantly in developing countries, such as in Central and South America, but they can also be critical in the developed world (landslide hazards in the western United States, for example). The need for dependable access to clean water is a life-and-death issue in many impoverished or arid areas, as is the need for environmental restoration to remove contaminants that originated from past industrial practices.

For example, in many countries centuries of mining and smelting have left a legacy of mining wastes and soils polluted with mercury, arsenic, and other toxic elements. With profits from mining long since removed to other places, the people who live in these areas struggle to exist in despoiled landscapes that affect their health and ability to create and sustain economies in which they can thrive. We believe that mining and resource recovery in the 21st century does not need to follow the same trajectory as mining in previous centuries. Advances in technology and technique, and awareness of environmental impacts and long-term consequences, afford real opportunities to both obtain the materials on which an economy can be built and concurrently preserve and restore the environment. Such a situation is present at a number of sites in South America, Eastern Europe and elsewhere, where years of mining have left tens of thousands of tons of mine tailings that in similar settings elsewhere have been used to recover valuable elements. Wastes that now contaminate the countryside could locally provide valuable byproducts that could help fund clean-up and provide economic opportunities.

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.

GPI invites you to participate in either of two ways: You can donate to our existing programs (all contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law), or you can contribute suggestions for new programs and projects. All donations and revenues will be used to fund critical programs and develop new projects and services consistent with GPI’s mission. Your support and assistance, both financial and technical, are greatly appreciated, and you can be sure that your resources will benefit those in need today as well as generations in the decades to come.
“Modern societies and those in the less-advantaged areas of the world must depend on the basic knowledge provided by professional geoscience. Water, sanitation, natural hazards, mineral resources and the degradation of natural systems are objects of geological study as well as applications that benefit humanity and all living things. GPI is an essential agent of bringing awareness of geoscience to the general public and governments.”
Dr. Jeffrey Greenberg, Department of Geology and Environmental Science, Wheaton College
Wheaton, Illinois USA