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Online Training: Exploring Geoethics: Ethics of responsibility towards the Earth system

26 September - 10 October 2023
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Event type:
Contributes to CPD, Course, Online Training
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, Online Training
Virtual event
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What is Geoethics?

All branches of geosciences have cultural, social and ethical implications. Geoscientists are becoming increasingly aware of their ethical responsibilities to serve society and foster public trust in geosciences. Geoethics aims to provide a common framework to responsibly manage questions such as geo-resources, geological risks, pollution, geoheritage, as well as geoscience-society-policy interaction.

Geoethics consists of research and reflection on the values which underpin appropriate behaviours and practices, wherever human activities interact with the Earth system. They identify and orient responsible behaviours and actions in the management of natural processes, redefining the human interaction with the Earth system based on a critical, scientifically grounded, and pragmatic approach. Solid scientific knowledge and a philosophical reference framework are crucial to face the current ecological crisis. The scientific perspective must be structured to help different human contexts while respecting social and cultural diversity.

Geoethics is proposed as a new reading key to rethinking the Earth as a system of complex relationships, in which the human being is an integral part of natural interactions.

It is increasingly clear that the current ecological crisis cannot be faced only from a technical point of view, but also requires a profound change in the interpretative paradigms of the world in which we live. Geoethics provides new keys to understanding reality and the role of geosciences in dealing with the complexity and uncertainty of modern societies and in changing the ways in which human beings interact with the natural environment.


This course aims to illustrate the theoretical foundations of geoethics, providing the categories, principles and values that underlie its conceptual framework.

The course will start discussing the definition of geoethics and after an excursus on the roots of geoethical thought and on the development of geoethics, the structure of geoethics will be described with references to environmental ethics. In particular, the fundamental and aspirational principles of geoethics, its relational domains, the reference values for each domain, its main characteristics will be discussed.

The course will then move on to address the application of geoethical thinking to important questions related to geosciences.

The course will be organised in modules:

Module 1 - 26 September, 16.00-18.00

  • Definition of geoethics, roots of geoethical thought, development of geoethics.
  • Structure of geoethics, geoethical domains, principles and values, issues and dilemmas, main characteristics of geoethics.
  • Professionalism and integrity of research.

Module 2 - 2 October, 16.00-18.00

  • Socio-economic implications of geosciences.
  • Responsible management of natural resources and sustainability.

Module 3 - 5 October, 16.00-18.00

  • Geoethical issues in georisks and disaster risk reduction.
  • L’Aquila Earthquake case and the New Zealand volcanic eruption case
  • Ethical and societal relevance of geoheritage and geodiversity.

Module 4 - 10 October, 16.00-18.00

  • Climate change and aspects of climate and intergenerational justice.
  • The concept of Anthropocene.
  • Geoethics applied to specific issues: deep sea mining and geoengineering.

Learning Objectives

1   Knowledge: the primary goal is to introduce the participants to the foundations of geoethics and its theoretical structure.

2   Raising awareness: participants will increase the awareness on the value, meaning and importance of the ethical and social issues affecting geosciences.

3   Sense making: geosciences are commonly considered as a set of technical-scientific disciplines. However, the course also aims to highlight their cultural value and importance for making ethical decisions for the benefit of society and the environment.

4   Mind shifting: geoethics is a new way of thinking and practicing geosciences that can help changing the interaction between human beings and the Earth system. This and other related aspects will be highlighted during the course.

5   Providing tools: geoethics is now a well-established discipline, founded on a significant number of publications, documents, videos, etc. Participants will be provided with information about resources on geoethics.


Silvia Peppoloni

International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG) – National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, Italy

Giuseppe Di Capua

International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG) – National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, Italy


 Member £255 
 Non-Member £495
 Student £55

We offer students a generous discount (as above). Please verify your student status by either registering with your student email address, or upload a photograph of your student identification/ acceptance letter.

Become a Member and save on your registration fee. Visit our membership page to find out more.

Group discounts and concessions

The society offers a limited number of concessionary rates for those in financial hardship. Please contact [email protected] (please note you may be required to provide details/evidence to support your application for this rate).

We offer discounts on group bookings of 5 or more, please email [email protected] to enquire.

Registration for this series will close at 12.00 GMT on 25 September.

Full programme plus accompanying special publication

We are also offering this full course programme plus a copy of our Special Publications Geoethics: the Role and Responsibility of Geoscientists and Geoethics: Status and Future Perspectives

If you would like to purchase the books along with the course, simply click on the Register Now link below and select from the delegate drop down options on the form.

Member with books         £400.00
Non-Member with books  £705.00
Student with books       £175.00

These prices include postage.

Save money and become a Member. Visit our membership page to find out more.


This series of courses will be held virtually.


Please contact [email protected] with any enquiries.

Register now