Building peace in the minds of men and women

Project 685 - Geology for Sustainable Development

Project Updates - 2022

 February submissions to the Earth Futures Festival were launched with an accompanying video featuring UNESCO IGCP Programme Specialist Dr. Ozlem Adiyaman Lopes and IGCP 685 Project Leaders Prof. Iain Stewart and Assoc. Prof. Heather Handley and TV Producer Simon John Heath. Watch the video below.

15 May 2022: In May submissions to the festival closed with 968 submissions from 88 countries. Two to three additional films expected that have been granted and extension to the deadline. 

Project Updates - 2021

The Geology for Sustainable Development IGCP project conducted a series of talks with geoscience “thought leaders”, focused on some questions such as:

  • What role will geoscience have to play in delivering society’s goals in the next 30 years?
  • How does geoscience need to change to meet the challenges of the future?
  • How can we increase the profile and attractiveness of geoscience

The result is a series of fascinating and surprising talks: See for yourself! 

In the framework of this IGCP 685 project, the Earth Futures Festival will be launched in 2022. This is an international film and video festival showcasing the role of geoscience in our sustainable future. Do you think you can tell an engaging Earth story through video? Then join the Festival!

© IGCP 685


More information: 

Brief outline of the project

Geoscience knowledge, experience, and guidance are critical for addressing many of society’s most acute resource needs and environmental challenges, yet few geoscientists have directly engaged in current discourses around sustainable development. That is surprising given that many attributes make modern geoscience well placed to make critical contributions to overcoming societal challenges.

In the GeoSD project, we tackle the apparent disconnect between geoscience and the public and policy arenas. Integrating the experience of geoscience practitioners across a range of fields, we explore how geoscience and geoscientists is directly confronting and overcoming societal challenges. The project brings together an international interdisciplinary network of researchers, industry professionals and geoscience association partners, to address three fundamental research questions.

  • What are the geoscientific principles and practices that underpin ‘sustainability’ and how are they manifest across the georesources sector?
  • How can current sustainability-related practices in real-world geoscience (mining, oil & gas, construction) be better integrated into geoscience education and training?
  • How can geoscientific knowledge be more effectively communicated for publics and policy?

By integrating the results of these research questions, we aim to establish a global framework by which geoscience and geoscientists can more effectively confront critical societal concerns.


Geology For Sustainable Development

The National Earth Science Museum of the Geological Survey of Namibia (GSN), houses a large collection of rocks, minerals and fossils found in Namibia and the National Earth Science and Energy Information Centre has a vast collection of publications on earth sciences and mining. Despite this, few Namibians are aware of the relevance of geosciences in society and in Namibia education in STEM fields needs a boost. Sadly ‘information that has no audience has no value’.
To remedy this situation GSN geoscientists regularly engage in science outreach activities such as the IGCP 685 project. The IGCP685 project working group 3 on Education and Communication developed a 3-minute, motion graphic outreach video on ‘Geology for Sustainable Development’ to raise awareness on geosciences among African audiences especially in Namibia.
The outreach video supports the government’s goals of increasing science literacy and involvement of girls in STEM. The video is a creative way to engage young people/students, educators and the community in geosciences. Inspiring in children interest in geosciences, and science in general and understanding of how geoscience is not just stones and diamonds, creating awareness of how geosciences affects their daily lives.

Ministry of Mines and Energy Namibia:

IGCP Project meeting in 2020

UNESCO Short Course (1st EAGE Geothermal Energy & Hydropower in Africa)

  • Meeting online: 9th December 2020
  • Convenors: Iain Stewart (University of Plymouth), Helen Robinson (Women in Geothermal)
  • Website

Securing the 'social licence to operate' is emerging worldwide as one of the critical investment and implementation barriers in both geothermal energy and hydropower development. But gaining social acceptance of geo-energy projects is hampered by low public awareness about geo-energy and poor community participation in energy development projects. Therefore, the key to gaining social licence is effective communication of highly technical science to non-technical audiences, from local residents to political decision-makers.

The workshop, which is part of the UNESCO International Geoscience Programme's initiative on 'sustainable geoscience', will highlight the important critical role of geoscientists in addressing wider societal challenges around sustainable development.


Related Information

  • Duration: 2019-2023
  • IGCP Theme: Earth Resources
  • Website