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
E-Mail
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 monthly 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 550 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.

Keywords

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

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Towards a New Paradigm in Water Management: Cochabamba’s Water Agenda from an Ethical Approach
Geosciences 2018, 8(5), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8050177
Received: 23 April 2018 / Revised: 7 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 14 May 2018
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Abstract
The Cochabamba Water War (2000) is well renowned for being a part of the civil society versus water service delivery debate. From a situation of service privatization, limited access, and an inexistent institutional framework in 2000, the current situation in the Cochabamba Valley
[...] Read more.
The Cochabamba Water War (2000) is well renowned for being a part of the civil society versus water service delivery debate. From a situation of service privatization, limited access, and an inexistent institutional framework in 2000, the current situation in the Cochabamba Valley faces increasing water scarcity within a weak institutional set up. To alleviate the situation, the government of Evo Morales has been actively funding projects considering an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) but confronting customary water rights in rural communities and thus increasing the level of conflict between water uses. Amid these two water management practices appears the Agenda del Agua Cochabamba (AdA)—the Cochabamba Water Agenda—claiming water as part of the commons and not a resource. This paper explains the paradigm’s values behind the conflicting IWRM and water rights’ water management practices and analyses the AdA under a governability framework identifying the barriers and drivers for its implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Geoethics in Geosciences)
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Open AccessArticle Unconventional Approach for Prevention of Environmental and Related Social Risks: A Geoethic Mission
Geosciences 2018, 8(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8020054
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 5 February 2018
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Abstract
Some natural events are considered catastrophic for their damaging effects on society; however, many of these effects are due more to inappropriate management of the environment rather than the event itself. In order to prevent the continuation of the occurrence of such pernicious
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Some natural events are considered catastrophic for their damaging effects on society; however, many of these effects are due more to 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 find, create and 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, as people develop curiosity and motivation to learn about natural history. Our study focuses particularly on cycling because of its popularity as well as for its close ties to the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Geoethics in Geosciences)
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Open AccessArticle The Need for Geoethics Awareness from a Canadian Perspective
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040120
Received: 9 October 2017 / Revised: 13 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 21 November 2017
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Abstract
An online survey of Canadian Earth scientists on geoethics—defined as the interconnection between humanity and Earth sciences—asked participants to (1) rate the importance of issues around scientific integrity, social responsibility, aboriginal concerns, corporate ethics, and fieldwork; (2) identify ethical considerations they had observed;
[...] Read more.
An online survey of Canadian Earth scientists on geoethics—defined as the interconnection between humanity and Earth sciences—asked participants to (1) rate the importance of issues around scientific integrity, social responsibility, aboriginal concerns, corporate ethics, and fieldwork; (2) identify ethical considerations they had observed; and (3) tell us how they were introduced to ethical viewpoints and whether their undergraduate programs had prepared them for ethical decision-making. Despite a small sample size (123 responded to our survey) we observe that most respondents deemed all criteria we listed as important or very important, with the strongest support for health/safety and honest reporting, and the least, but still significant support for criteria linked to aboriginal issues and fieldwork. Many respondents had observed ethical considerations, particularly lack of giving credit and biased representation of information. We find that informal activities like reading and discussions with peers are the most frequent avenues into geoethics, while undergraduate education is not a significant contributor to current geoethics understandings. Although the survey was restricted to Canada, we perceive our survey as providing a glimpse into the larger geoscience community and offer various recommendations on how the geoscience community and public must be made aware of geoethics, not just in Canada. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Geoethics in Geosciences)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Valuing Humans and Valuing Places: “Integrity” and the Preferred Terminology for Geoethics
Geosciences 2018, 8(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8010025
Received: 8 October 2017 / Revised: 24 December 2017 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 17 January 2018
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Abstract
What follows will support the centrality of appeals to the integrity of places as a plausible way of extending the concept of integrity in the light of our actual practices of valuing. The emphasis will, however, be upon practices of valuing rather than
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What follows will support the centrality of appeals to the integrity of places as a plausible way of extending the concept of integrity in the light of our actual practices of valuing. The emphasis will, however, be upon practices of valuing rather than upon metaphysical claims about "inherent value”. The latter are not dismissed, they are merely set aside. The guiding thought is that our ethical theory should not depart too greatly from our understanding of how and what humans actually do hold to be of value in any particular culturally-shaped context. Following an introduction to the concept of integrity (Section 1), the discussion will open with an attempt to show that we do sometimes value places non-instrumentally (Section 2), even though we tend to look elsewhere to justify our respect for, and valuing of, places (Section 3). It will then proceed through a defence of appeals to such valuing as ethically significant (Section 4), before moving on to a provisional account of integrity as an effective way of making sense of what it is that we value when we value places in their own right (Section 5). Unlike Rolston, who is strongly associated with the concept of integrity, the intention is not to go metaphysically deep and identify something akin to the moral properties of things. Rather, the concern will be with the kinds of considerations that agents would typically point to as a reason for valuing places without any deeper set of claims about inherent value. This provides a less troubling, more metaphysically “neutral”, way of addressing matters. The paper is intended for an audience working on Geoethics; however, the norms of argument will be those associated more narrowly with philosophical ethics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Geoethics in Geosciences)
Open AccessReview The Nature and Articulation of Ethical Codes on Tailings Management in South Africa
Geosciences 2017, 7(4), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences7040101
Received: 20 August 2017 / Revised: 22 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
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Abstract
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
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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)
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