“Geodiversity defines human and cultural diversity”
Geodiversity is the foundation upon which biodiversity and society were and continue to be built, argues Andrew Abraham
Geodiversity is ever-changing, evolving, regenerating, and impacting how we and the fauna and flora on this planet, live and survive.
The other day, I went to my bookshelf and pulled out a small book, with a simple dark green cover. The gold lettering read, Geological Sketches; its author was Archibald Geikie. The copy I have was published in 1892, almost 130 years ago. The first edition was published ten years before.
I was searching for whether Geikie said anything about geodiversity. I was not disappointed. The title of last chapter is The Geological Influences that have affected the course of British History. A statement in the chapter’s first paragraph tells us Geikie was way ahead of today’s proponents of geodiversity.
“Probably few readers realise to how large an extent the events of history have been influenced by the geological structure of the ground whereon they have been enacted.”
He uses the geology of England and Scotland as an example to show how geology determined the cultural differences between the two countries.
“But we should find that fundamentally the differences have arisen from the originally utterly distinct geological structures of the region.”
He concludes the paragraph with:
“This diversity of structure initiated the divergences in human characteristics even in far prehistoric times, and it continues, even in spite of blending influences of modern civilisation, to maintain them down to the present day.”
Whilst Geikie did not coin the phrase geodiversity, he recognized that geology played a huge part in the development of nations and not just from a resource perspective. If we read his statements, geodiversity is more than the cradle for biodiversity and far more than geoheritage. Geodiversity has, and still does, define human and cultural diversity.
Dr Andrew P.G. Abraham is an independent consultant who serves as volunteer Director External Engagement for the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences.