Jeffrey K. Greenberg, 2016. "Geophilanthropy, personal and public", Geoscience for the Public Good and Global Development: Toward a Sustainable Future, Gregory R. Wessel, Jeffrey K. Greenberg
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Geoscience is poorly understood by the general public. People in the United States have recently gained a global reputation for science illiteracy. Absolutely essential information about living on our planet is not being effectively communicated, accepted, or practically heeded. Geoscientists are typically considered eccentric and irrelevant. Negative attitudes beyond those include associations of geology with global environmental degradation and sinister economic-political interests. This absurd reputation is partly deserved.
Geoscience as a discipline and profession is foundational in moving toward more sustainable societies. Educational institutions, professional organizations, and individuals need to act in concert to illuminate the function and wonders of the natural world. Students of the skies, the waters, and the land require many new opportunities to seek benefits for all life and inanimate nature. Such a call is countercultural and idealistic. Philanthropy requires motivation of the heart and resistance to the drive for selfish gain.
In the earth-science context, “geophilanthropy” is service rendered by education/training of others, by volunteering one’s time and expertise in problem solving, or by materially supporting geology-related projects. Professional outreach can benefit many sectors of society, including the general public, government and policymakers, industries, schools, and small-scale enterprise (agriculture, etc.). Development projects are a broad international venue for charitable outreach. Less advantaged communities globally are in great need of the educational and applied expertise possessed by professional geoscientists. Involvement of students at all levels in their higher-education careers is an additional benefit that multiplies service for investment in sustainable change.