Special Issue "Ethics and Geoethics in Geosciences"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jesus Martinez-Frias

Instituto de Geociencias, IGEO (CSIC-UCM), C/ Del Doctor Severo Ochoa 7, Facultad de Medicina (Edificio Entrepabellones 7 y 8), 28040 Madrid, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +34 91 3944829
Fax: +34 91 3944798
Interests: planetary geology; astrobiology; natural resources of near earth space and sustainability; geo and biomarkers; extreme environments and planetary habitability; geodiversity and biodiversity; natural hazards and planetary ecosystems; mineralogy; geoethics in earth and space sciences; geoeducation; science and technology for development; emerging sciences, cultural implications; new paradigms
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Lopo Vasconcelos

Departamento de Geologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, CP 257 Maputo, MOZAMBIQUE
Interests: coal geology and coal petrology, geochemistry, geoeducation, geoethics, photogeology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Advances in science and technology have increased considerably in the past century. One of the main subjects linked to geosciences is that we should face not only the conventional issues, but also other, much more leading-edge and interdisciplinary topics, involving societal and ethical questions in both developed and developing countries. Geoscientists have new skills and tasks concerning different disciplines, applying different methodological procedures and technologies, and facing new challenges, from micro to macro-scale studies, and from land, atmosphere and oceans to planetary exploration. Geoethics is, unfortunately, not yet very well known. However, it is not a new discipline. As has already happened in the past with other disciplines such as geochemistry, geophysics, geobiology, geomathematics, one of the most important features which characterizes the modern concept of geoethics is that it should not be understood as the simple combination of two terms “geo-Ethics” but as “geoethics”: a totally new discipline in which “the whole is greater than the mere sum of its parts”. Accordingly, any appropriate application of the ethical rules and protocols is marked and requires a good knowledge about the different geoscientific issues. Any geoethical action should reflect, among other attributes, freedom, scientific and professional skills, integrity and good practices, reflection, socio–cultural and human dimensions, principles and motivations. This Special Issue is promoted following the initiatives and action plan of the International Association for Geoethics (IAGETH), the only international organization linking geosciences and ethics, which is affiliated to two ICSU GeoUnions (IUGS and IUGG). We strongly encourage you to participate, and invite you to submit your manuscripts, including general and specialized reviews and research articles.

Prof. Dr. Jesús Martínez-Frías
Prof. Dr. Lopo Vasconcelos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Geosciences is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


•    Geosciences
•    Ethics
•    Education and Research
•    Society
•    Professionalism
•    Good practices
•    Deontology
•    Developing

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessReview The Nature and Articulation of Ethical Codes on Tailings Management in South Africa
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 101; doi:10.3390/geosciences7040101
Received: 20 August 2017 / Revised: 22 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
PDF Full-text (3887 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
It is well recognized that the mining industry in South Africa is highly rated for its substantial contribution to the country’s economic growth, including employment and infrastructural development. It is also known that mining and ore processing activities potentially pose a severe threat
[...] Read more.
It is well recognized that the mining industry in South Africa is highly rated for its substantial contribution to the country’s economic growth, including employment and infrastructural development. It is also known that mining and ore processing activities potentially pose a severe threat to public health and environmental well-being, in the way operations are carried out, mine wastes are disposed of (in dumps), local communities are relocated, mine management and the mining community, in general, perceive established environmental standards and etiquette. This paper examines ethical practices and norms in the South African mining industry, with particular reference to the management of tailings dams. We analyse the modes of articulation of the country’s regulatory instruments for tailings management, and review the corporate social responsibility (CSR) approach of leading mining companies. Despite decades of research and resulting recommendations on tailings management, it is concluded that the current legislations are largely ineffective, that the level of adherence by mine management and the mining community is low, and that the mechanisms for compliance monitoring is weak. New perspectives on legislative issues for unsolved problems in tailings handling are put forward, and directions for future research, indicated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Geoethics in Geosciences)

Figure 1

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Valuing Humans and Valuing Places: The Preferred Terminology for Geoethics
Author: Tony Milligan 1,2
Affiliation: 1 Centre for Ethics, University of Pardubice; 2 King’s College London
Abstract: It makes little sense to talk about the ‘rights’ of things or places. The concept of rights belong, instead, to the valuing of humans or, more generously, sentient creatures. For Geoethics, by contrast, this paper will favour an approach that speaks about ‘duty’, 'integrity' and 'respect'. But while duty and respect concern what we owe, integrity concerns what we are responding to. Two advantages of treating the concept of integrity as part of the preferred terminology for Geoethics will be identified: (1) it provides a convenient way to expand the (officially restricted) concept of planetary protection so that it has clear ethical content; (2) it can be articulated in different ways and so allows geologists, ethicists and contributors to the ethical discussion who may have different attitudes towards the deeper, more 'metaphysical', questions of 'inherent value', to share a common vocabulary. And if a common ethical vocabulary is shared, a workable consensus on core aspects of ethically-informed policy may more easily be reached.

Title: Unconventional approach for prevention of environmental and related social risks: a Geo-Ethic mission
Authors: Francesca Romana Lugeri *, Piero Farabollini , Roberto Greco , Vittorio Amadio
Abstract: Some natural events are considered catastrophic for their damaging effects on society, however many of these effects are more due to an inappropriate management of the environment rather than the event itself. In order to prevent the continuation of the occurrence of such pernicious situations, it is necessary to spread the knowledge of natural mechanisms so that the general public becomes aware of the dynamics that characterize our planet’s balance. To this aim, we argue it is indispensable to test new methods of communication in order to reach a wide audience in an understandable way. We believe in science popularization as an ethic mission: the proposal is dedicated to those Outdoor Sports that take place in the landscape, considered as an ideal vector of information. Our study focuses particularly on cycling because of its popularity as well as for its close ties to the environment.
Keywords: risk; prevention; landscape; communication; sport

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