I read Melvyn Giles’ article about The Scottish Geology Trust (Geoscientist 30(10), 28-29, 2020) with great sympathy for the cause – that public interest in dramatic Scottish landscapes is not matched by investment in our geoparks.
There is a perception that the public is unwilling to engage with lengthy explanations. TV documentaries often open with sequences on plate tectonics, floods or icecaps, before rapidly giving way to the urge to feed public interest in animal behaviour. Many film directors seem to believe the physical world is merely a setting for the organisms that inhabit it.
Would education help increase public awareness and thereby funding of geoparks? In pre-university science, geology is incorporated as a minor component, though perhaps too fleetingly to impress young minds. We should instead exploit the geography curriculum, but here the window might be closing – even geomorphology may be fighting a rear-guard action to preserve its long-standing space as relative newcomers such as climate change and environmental despoliation crowd out the time available.
Prof. Emeritus Ian Reid