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Volume 24 Issue 2 (February 2014)

GSA Today

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Article, pp. 28–30 | Full Text | PDF (215KB)

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The geoscience community’s obligation to its “Last Great Hope”: Do geology graduates understand human transformations of Earth systems?

Kristen E. Schmeisser, Paul K. Doss*

Dept. of Geology and Physics, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, Indiana, 47712, USA.

“The Last Great Hope.” That is what former GSA President John Geissman called the present generation of geoscience students in his 2011 Presidential Address (Geissman, 2012). He then called for the strengthening and support of the geoscience professoriate as the instructors, mentors, and advisers of tomorrow’s leaders and innovators. To those ends we argue that the geoscience community must ensure that all geology students have an understanding of the global-scale processes that are unsustainably modified or degraded by human transformations, and perhaps more importantly, help develop those students’ ability to communicate that information to the general public. Furthermore, the geoscience professoriate must enable, encourage, and prepare our undergraduate geology students to speak out against misinformation delivered by a small group of individuals in science and the media who present their personal beliefs against the wealth of peer-reviewed and reproducible data that have resulted in the overwhelming scientific majority conclusion of anthropogenically induced climate change.

Manuscript received 5 Apr. 2013; accepted 18 Sept. 2013

doi: 10.1130/GSAT180GW.1