Abstract

Sustaining Earth, in the face of both technology thrusts and population dynamics, depends on our ability to maintain a delicate balance between human-promoted planetary modification and decline thresholds for land (soils), water, atmosphere, and biological systems. Mineralogy, as much as any other single science, will be central to this process. A set of links between Earth sustainability issues and the science of mineralogy are formulated and discussed in this discourse. The strongest ties exist in the areas of mineral-water and mineral-atmosphere interactions. Minerals are also particularly important in human disease generation. In addition, due to the role of minerals as invaluable economic resources, the environmental consequences of mining also come into play. New subdisciplines have recently emerged to bring mineralogy even closer to Earth sustainability issues, particularly mineral-microbe interaction science and nanomineralogy.

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