Skip to main content

Geoethics and the responsibility of Geoscientist in society: from research to teaching and outreach

Geoethics emerged as the discipline that studies and reflects upon the values that underpin appropriate human behaviors and practices, whenever humans interact with the Earth. The foundations of geoethics are traced back to three main elements: the importance of geological culture as an essential part of the geoscientist’s background, the concept of responsibility (individual and social), and the definition of an ethical criterion on which to guide behavior and practices in geosciences. These pillars are rooted in a set of values that can be divided into three groups that partially overlap: ethical values, cultural values, and social values. GOAL (Geoethics Outcomes and Awareness Learning) project, funded by Erasmus Plus Agency, was the first international project sponsored to develop educational materials to promote the teaching of geoethics in higher education. A syllabus and complimentary educational resources where elaborated by an interdisciplinary team with members from 6 countries allowing the exploration of expertise in o interdisciplinary areas. Both, the syllabus and the educational materials focused on geoethics’ themes, issues, and dilemmas. They range in different aspects of interest and highlights the ethical issues involved in human beings-Earth system interactions: georisks, water management, geoheritage, and mining. The final aim of the GOAL is to enhance the quality and relevance of students’ knowledge, skills, and competencies as well as citizens’ awareness and geoscientists' responsibility in their work. Being the first international project funded on geoethics, its outputs are expected to be a step forward in the field and to promote new insights, namely in education.


Clara Vasconcelos (1) & Nir Orion (2)
Porto University, Portugal (1); Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel (2)
GeoUtrecht 2020