EGU Assembly

EGU General Assembly 2020

Geoscience and Sustainability at the Grassroots: Facilitating Social Change for Sustainable Livelihoods

Following upon the success of the Geoscience and Society Summit held in Stockholm in March 2019, we were invited to submit a proposal for a short course to be presented at the European Geosciences Union’s General Assembly in Vienna, 3-9 May 2020. This short course will examine how geoscientists can work with local communities to a) partner with people in the community who are already promoting changes around issues like resilience or sustainability and b) identify new avenues to support the community in ways that advance sustainability and resilience.  We will examine how we can enhance resilience and engender sustainable livelihoods and economic practices through the roles we occupy as citizen geoscientists in addressing the common good.  Factors that govern social change will be considered, including:

  • Influences that affect individual and group behaviors in the face of climate change,
  • How existing institutions can be engaged in addressing sustainability,
  • How community-led efforts can be supported and funded,
  • Standards to meet that conform with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and promote full sustainability,
  • Overall design parameters for sustainable communities, and
  • How short-term goals can be structured to address longer-term concerns.

The purpose of the course is to provide guidance for working with local communities that can lead to a sustainable and just future. We will review guidelines for effective geodiplomacy and present examples of successful, co-created local efforts in different places that represent a spectrum of socio-economic conditions.  We will also include an interactive exercise that engages participants in a session of creative brainstorming to assist three different real-life communities trying to deal with challenges they face today that will be exacerbated by climate change.

The short course is being organized and will be chaired by:

Gregory Wessel
President, Geology in the Public Interest

Chloe Hill
Policy Officer, European Geosciences Union

Florence Bullough
Head of Policy and Engagement, The Geological Society

Kasey S. White
Director for Geoscience Policy, Geological Society of America

Photo credit: Photo Pfluegl