One of the most widely quoted definitions of sustainability is – “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generation to meet its needs”. Brundtland (1987). Broadly the term seeks to integrate three facets – economic, environmental, and social (or sociopolitical).
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015 are a set of 17 goals which call for action by all the countries globally that aim to improve health and education, reduce inequality, ensure universal access to basic services, eradicate poverty, end unsustainable consumption patterns, spur economic growth while tackling climate change and protecting our natural resources.
A first look at the SDGs gives the impression that there is no apparent connect between Earth science and the SDGs. However, this is not true. Earth Science focuses on studying the Earth as a collection of systems. It includes study of Lithosphere, Hydrosphere, Atmosphere and Biosphere. Thus, it entails virtually every important element of our life on this planet; the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the energy we consume, our house, workplace, and many of the substances used in our daily life.
It is being increasingly accepted that in the present age – Anthropocene, human activities are having a progressively damaging impact on the Earth’s systems leading to undesirable consequences. It is now becoming important to understand the role of various human activities like mining, petroleum exploration, groundwater extraction and land use changes especially seen in relation to the phenomenon of geohazards such as landslides, floods and other aspects like soil degradation and climate change.
In this context, the study of Earth Sciences and Earth systems assumes importance and can become crucial to the delivery of SDGs. Many of the SDGs are intimately inter-connected and require better management of its natural resources (land, water, or minerals). The knowledge of its structure, the processes and the Earth’s geological resources becomes important to understand and build an overall process of sustainable development. If we are to achieve the United Nations’ SDGs, there must be an increased knowledge of the close interaction of the Earth systems and a change in the mindset towards the anthropogenic changes that are increasingly threatening our planet.
While communicating a broader idea of the applications of Earth Science in our day-to-day life, we at CERG also aim to raise awareness of the crucial link between Earth Science and a sustainable future.
Geoweek, the much awaited week-long flagship event of the Centre of Education & Research was a tremendous success. We thank you all for your participation, unstinted support for the event. The event would not have ben possible without you.We look forward to the same level of enthusiasm and participation in our forthcoming events.
Earth Science encompasses many areas and explores the interrelationships between human activity and the earth (Geosphere). ‘Geoscience for All’ is a volunteer initiative of professional Earth Scientists to promote Earth Literacy – translating information on Earth science into a language & learning that can be understood by the common man. The activities include awareness and outreach programs like exhibitions, film shows, & talks.
By combining Openness and Open source principles, we aim to become a very active community of educators, researchers & students who advocate, support, promote and collaborate in projects related to the enhancement of literacy and education in Earth sciences in local communities and society at large. This is done through training, workshops, teacher training workshops, consulting, and outreach programs.
GIS FOR SOCIETAL NEEDS
Geographic information systems and GIS technology have wide reaching applications in providing solutions to societal needs like land use, spatial demographics, natural resource assessments.
At CERG, we use a participatory approach and work towards the integration and use of Open Source principles and Open Source Geospatial solutions to help improve the quality of life and build local communities that are pro-active.