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Editor’s welcome

This pivot away from a carbon-based society is reflected across our field

Words by Amy Whitchurch
1 March 2022

2022 marks the Society’s Year of Sustainability, during which we will explore the role for geoscience in delivering the energy transition and the UN’s sustainable development goals, through events, education and outreach activities.

In a press release, President Mike Daly notes that the “pivot away from a carbon-based society presents many opportunities for the Earth sciences: from mitigating climate change impacts to exploring for geothermal energy and the key energy transition metals such as copper, cobalt and the rare earth minerals, as well as enabling the secure and economic storage of carbon and radioactive waste”.

We’ve seen an increase in submissions relating to sustainability

This pivot is reflected across our field. For example, many university geology departments have rebranded as Earth, environmental science and engineering departments; the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education is revising the Subject Benchmark Statement for Earth science degrees to place a greater emphasis on sustainability (p. 11); and oil-and-gas companies are evolving to include a broader energy mix, with the Society’s own Petroleum Group expanding their scientific remit to become the Energy Group.

This pivot is also mirrored in the contributions we receive at the magazine. We’ve seen an increase in submissions relating to sustainability and the energy transition, and this edition, which includes discussion around critical minerals (p. 14, 24, 38) and the Society’s recent attendance at COP26 (p. 18), is no exception. But that’s not to say we’re uninterested in other elements of geoscience – from fundamental discoveries to applied science and engineering, from core to surface, from Earth to our solar system and beyond, we welcome submissions on any aspect of geoscience.

Geoscientist is your magazine – it is built from voluntary contributions from the community, so if there are topics you’d like to see covered, do get in touch. We should emphasise that Geoscientist is a magazine, not a technical journal, and the views expressed in our pages reflect those of the authors, not their organisations, the Society or the magazine.

To increase the diversity of contributions and breadth of topics, we’ve built a Contributors Team. The team is composed of: Sade Agard, graduate geologist and Chair of the Area Code Foundation, a not-for-profit resource management organisation working in Bambilor, Senegal; Dr Philip Ball, Chief of Geothermal Innovation at the Clean Air Task Force, Houston, USA, and Honorary Senior Researcher at Keele University, UK; Lucy Blennerhassett, a PhD student studying environmental geochemistry, volcanism and climate change at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland; Prof Gerald (Jerry) Dickens, Head of the Geology Department at Trinity College Dublin and Chief Editor of Geology; Stephen McHugh, Research and Administrative Support Officer at the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences, Dublin; and Kyle Watts, a PhD Research Fellow at the University of Stavanger, Norway, studying a field in the Barents Sea.

In each issue, these talented science communicators will report on interesting recent discoveries as part of a new magazine section In Brief (p. 44), in addition to writing longer-format articles. We’re incredibly grateful to the team for volunteering their time and skills to help make Geoscientist a more stimulating magazine, and hope that you enjoy their varied contributions.

Amy Whitchurch, Executive Editor

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