Geoscience as a Foundation of International Relations
Natural resources, be they grown, pumped, or mined, are the building blocks on which all of us must construct our human existence. The geosciences are important to the identification, use, and conservation of all of those resources, and so it can be argued that the geosciences are the foundation of human existence. People everywhere rely upon the availability of fresh water, mineral resources sufficient to supply industry, and energy to power their existence. Agriculture and forestry flourish only where water is available, where soil is fertile, and where pollution is controlled or absent. Geologists work in all of these realms; without them, progress would be stymied.
It is our belief that relations between nations can be greatly improved by providing geologic assistance where it is needed to advance public health, welfare, and economic development, especially if it is given with no conditions to local authorities and citizen cooperatives with the blessing of the national government. There are many such opportunities. In the case of the United States, for example, impoverished areas in nations like Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Haiti, and many others could benefit greatly from assistance in the form of science and engineering. Indeed, when developed nations assist less-developed nations philanthropically, international relations can be improved at all levels.
To facilitate geophilanthropy of this type, we plan to co-sponsor a Penrose Conference for the Geological Society of America that specifically addresses Geoscience: The Foundation of International Relations. These conferences provide an informal atmosphere to:
- Bring together multidisciplinary groups of geoscientists;
- Facilitate open and frank discussion of ideas;
- Stimulate individual and collaborative research; and
- Exchange of current information and newly emerging ideas.
Anyone can apply to attend, but participants are limited to 50-80 people who are all involved in some aspect of the conference topic. We are working towards a 2018 meeting date.