Complementing Specialist and Regional Groups, the Environment Network is intended to be the first of several interdisciplinary networks linking horizontally across existing Geological Society structures and disciplinary silos. Addressing environmental challenges draws on many geoscience specialisms, from hydrogeology and engineering to volcanology. The involvement of Fellows from a wide variety of Specialist Groups will be vital to the success of the network, complementing rather than supplanting Specialist Group affiliation.
The greatest challenges we face nationally and globally in coming decades are concerned with Earth resources and the environment, and geological expertise is central to both of them. They range from the safe containment of hazardous (including nuclear) wastes to climate change, and from clean-up of contaminated land to the potential health hazards of engineered nanoparticles. Geology is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing as it does upon physics, chemistry, biology, materials science and engineering. So who better than geologists to offer leadership in environmental science and technology? However, whereas geologists often find themselves at the forefront of developments in the energy and minerals industries, they do so far less often in matters environmental. Here, biologists, climatologists, economists and social scientists are often the dominant voices. The Environment Network aims to showcase the Society’s important contributions to many aspects of environmental science – a notable example being the recent statement on climate change (www.geolsoc.org.uk/climatechange
) - and the Fellowship’s potential to make genuine and significant contributions to addressing environmental challenges for the benefit of society.