"Geology for Society" -Report launch at the European Parliament
In the light of the major role geology plays (often unknowingly) in a multitude of economic areas, the Geological Society of London (GSL) produced in 2014 a major report named 'Geology for Society' that has been translated, thanks to the collaboration of the European Federation of Geologists (EFG) and its national membership associations, into 14 languages so far. Geology is the study of the Earth's structure and history. It underpins the provision of resources to society and industry, delivers a wide range of essential services, and helps us understand how we can live more sustainably on our planet. Industries which depend on geology are major contributors to economic growth and stability, generate significant tax revenues, and provide employment to many millions of people across Europe.
The Geological Society of London (GSL) 2014 report named 'Geology for Society' was officially launched at the European Parliament on 2 June 2015 with the aim of outlining to MEPs and EU policy makers the importance of geology and qualified professionals to our society, covering areas such as energy, minerals, water, waste management, construction, land contamination and natural hazards. The session, hosted by MEP Carlos Zorrinho (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy), was attended by members of EFG’s national associations and representatives of the European Commission’s DG Energy, DG Environment, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and DG Research & Innovation and intended to promote dialogue between policy makers and geoscientists at a European and national level.
In his words of welcome MEP Carlos Zorrinho underlined the often missing understanding of geology in policy circles and the central role geosciences play however for various topics currently under discussion at the European Parliament such as fracking, conflict minerals, natural hazards or climate change. Nic Bilham, Director for Policy and Communication at the Geological Society of London and UK delegate to EFG, introduced the ‘Geology for Society’ report stating the importance of communicating science appropriately to make the role it plays intelligible to policy makers, industry, young people and the media in spite of its complexity. EFG President Vitor Correia illustrated examples of the impact geology has had on society from a historical point of view. These included early innovations in the Iron Age where new tools raised societal standards; the Lisbon earthquake in 1749 that influenced the perception of Europe’s citizens and the origins of romanticism in fine arts and literature; and the creation of the European Coal and Steel committee that ‘made war not only unthinkable but materially impossible’ according to the Schuman declaration of 9 May 1950. In his conclusion Vitor Correia confirmed the support the European Federation of Geologists as the professional body certifying skilled European Geologists can provide to support future EU policy relating to today’s major global challenges.
The representatives of DG Energy, DG Environment, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and DG Research & Innovation concurred in their statements that the ‘Geology for Society’ report is considered as an extremely valuable document for the European Commission and that the input of geologists (and other science branches) will be essential to tackle the 21st century’s societal and environmental challenges.
The ‘Geology for Society’ report is available for download at: