why earth
science?

the stories of Oz
some quotes



mike sandiford's
earth science
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why Earth Science?

A sense of urgency

Human demands on basic earth resources (energy, water, metals, air) and human impacts on the functioning of the global system (ecosystems, climates, oceans) are unprecedented. We are acutely aware that our current activities are compromising the prospects of future generations, more than at any previous time in human history. To make the choices that will effectively mitigate these pressures, we need a scientific capability that we are yet to achieve. Earth scientists have the urgent responsibility of developing a predictive understanding of the functioning of the whole planet and defining its distribution of resources.


A sense of responsibility

Sustainability is the key moral issue of our time. How are we to partition resources between the rich and the poor, between the present and the future and between the neeeds of human society and those of the environment? Moral issues have always been informed by creation myths and the creation myths relevant to sustainability are the grand stories of our planet - stories such as the Snowball Earth, the Ediacaran explosion, the Ice Ages, El Nino. Earth scientists have the special responsibility to tell these stories in a way that empowers all people to address the key issues of sustainability.


A sense of the spiritual

We live on a planet of extrordinary beauty. Its intricate landforms, minerals, oceans, climates and ecosystems provide the threads connecting 4,500,000,000 years of planetary evolution. The story of our planet is a profoundly uplifting story and one that has the potential to root all people to the well-being of planet Earth. Earth scientists provide a special perspective on this deeply spiritual story.