Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
4.12 Geoethics – fostering ethical perspectives in the Geosciences
Thursday, 07/Sept/2023:
1:30pm - 3:00pm

Session Chair: Dominic Hildebrandt, ETH Zurich
Session Chair: Martin Bohle, Ronin Institute
Session Chair: Barbara Zambelli, TU Bergakademie Freiberg
Location: Wiwi 108


Show help for 'Increase or decrease the abstract text size'
1:30pm - 2:00pm
Invited Session Keynote
Topics: 4.12 Geoethics – fostering ethical perspectives in the Geosciences

Geoethics and Transgenerational Climate Crimes - four examples to hold States and corporations accountable

Angelica De Freitas

AIC Agencia de Iniciativas Cidadas, Brazil

Is it possible to hold States and corporations accountable for the extractive industry’s transgenerational climate crimes? Answering this question implies the definition of climate crimes in time and space and, for this reason, four case studies will be analyzed to substantiate the critical analysis proposed: the Coalbrook mine disaster in South Africa (1960), the Amoco Cadiz oil spill in France (1978), the Performance Coal Company explosion in the United States (2010), and the Vale-BHP tailing dam collapse in Brazil (2015). Actions that cause climate catastrophe affect individuals and ecosystems beyond jurisdictions in an uncontrolled and incalculable way. The real purpose of the extractive industry must be observed from a geoethical perspective, that is, the extractive industry’s capacity of producing and reproducing life. States and corporations have historically managed the extractive industrial complex regardless and to the detriment of the existence of life in explored territories. This means that States and corporations are accomplices in actions that not only cause the worsening of life conditions in the present time, but also prevent life on the planet to be fostered and preserved. By comparing the alleged benefits and the real harm arising from a geopolitical developmental agenda of global endless industrial extractivism, this paper develops the geoethical possibilities of definition of transgenerational climate crimes departing from four case scenarios and their devastating consequences.

2:00pm - 2:15pm
Topics: 4.12 Geoethics – fostering ethical perspectives in the Geosciences

Responsible Geosciences, or Geoscience Literacy for Urbanites

Martin Bohle1,2

1Ronin Institute, Montclair (NJ), USA; 2International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG), Rome, Italy

Urbanites, i.e., people living in urban environments, should be geoscience-literate. Them living under a ‘veil of geo-ignorance’ is not a valid option for responsible geosciences.

The urban realm is a social-ecological system on a planetary scale. Its complex-adaptive dynamics couple human practices and the geosphere1 2 (e.g., buildings, mines, shipping), causing massive fluxes (e.g., energy, water, materials), implies extensive civil-engineering works (e.g., housing, transport, infrastructure), and applies geoscience expertise. (e.g., foundations, drainage, position) A well-functioning urban realm requires professionals, who design, build and govern it, to apply geoscience expertise.

Urban environments emphasise socio-economic interactions of people sheltered from everyday geosphere phenomena (e.g., weather, climate, slope-stability) and many disasters (e.g. floods, storms, heatwaves). However, most people have little insight into how much urban lifestyles depend on geosphere functions. That ignorance is a systemic risk for modern societies, which geoscience professionals should mitigate3, and meteorology gives an example of ‘how’.

Modern meteorologists combine weather forecasts with information on meteorological phenomena, climate change, and impacts on economic and social activities. They show how forecasts determine people's work and life, demonstrating the wealth of geoscientific information and professional practices.

The yet-to-answere question: How to do alike?

1. Otto, I. M. et al. Human agency in the Anthropocene. Ecol. Econ. 167, 106463 (2020).

2. Rosol, C., Nelson, S. & Renn, J. Introduction: In the machine room of the Anthropocene. Anthr. Rev. 4, 2–8 (2017).

3. Bohle, M., Sibilla, A. & Casals I Graells, R. A Concept of Society-Earth-Centric Narratives. Ann. Geophys. 60, (2017).

2:15pm - 2:30pm
Topics: 4.12 Geoethics – fostering ethical perspectives in the Geosciences

Let us synchronize watches

Jonas Grutzpalk

HSPV NRW, Germany

“The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time,“ noted John Playfair after having been introduced to geology by James Hutton. Deep time is in fact one of the main intellectual tools one must be ready to work with when wanting to do geology. Marcia Bjornerud describes how tedious the communication between geologists and people who think that the earth was created after the domestication of the dog can be. But it is not only religious people – almost everyone else finds it hard to grasp a duration of a million, 100 Million or a billion years too.

This is because time is not only an objective parameter of the fourth dimension – it is also dependent on social factors. We all know that because time passes by more quickly when we a are older and / or in company and it goes slow when we are waiting for Father Christmas to show up or when we are bored.

This social dimension of time will be looked at in my presentation. I will make use of the writings of religious scientist Mircea Eliade on time and will – with the help of the writings of geologist Marcia Bjornerud – try to describe the social implications the geological vision of time has or could and should have. Bjornerud (and I with her) is sure that geological “deep time” is not only a specific way of thinking for geologists but also a tool for social integration.

Contact and Legal Notice · Contact Address:
Privacy Statement · Conference: GeoBerlin 2023
Conference Software: ConfTool Pro 2.8.101
© 2001–2024 by Dr. H. Weinreich, Hamburg, Germany