Earth Science Matters communicates the added value of the Earth sciences to a wider public and is a call for action to make the lives of future generations around the world healthier, safer and more prosperous by promoting smart, Earth science-based solutions.

The Earth Science Matters Foundation is an international, a-political and non-profit organisation that informs the public about the great value of knowledge of the Earth for the well-being of future generations and promotes science-based solutions for Earth-related problems.

To get the knowledge where it is most needed, Earth Science Matters particularly focuses on the youth, on politicians, opinion leaders, key persons in science and industry, fellow geoscientists and other decision makers.


The Earth Science Matters Foundation builds on the legacy of the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE) that was created by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and UNESCO in order to promote sustainable development and the application of the Earth sciences in Society. The IYPE was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly for 2008 and lasted as a Triennium from 2007 to the end of 2009, and as a non-profit Corporation until 30 June 2010. The International Year of Planet Earth has been most successful in its outreach campaigns through its impressive network of 80 National Committees. While approaching the end of the IYPE Triennium, the Board requested the IYPE Secretariat and Development Committee to advance a new outreach-oriented initiative beyond 2009. In its November 2009 meeting, the IYPE Board endorsed the results of this action. This document describes the key aspects of the Earth Science Matters Foundation.

What Makes Us Different

The combination of a non-profit, a-political NGO, mainly running on nongovernmental funds and operated by a small international Secretariat while serving and co-funding Earth-related outreach activities through a network of National Focal Points with a strong emphasis on the developing world, with special attention for young people and with the ambition to encourage them to consider an Earth science-related career, is quite unique and makes Earth Science Matters a distinct niche player. From that position, the Foundation aims at developing joint ventures and other ways of cooperation with relevant national and international bodies rather than to compete with any organisation sharing at least part of the Earth Science Matters’ mission.

How We Make an Impact

We are involved in a wide variety of activities that bridge the generation gap by bring geo-professionals, young and old, from around the world to share their knowledge about the Earth.

Working with our network of National Focal Points, who spreads the Earth Science Matters message at a national level, each in its own language and according to its own culture.

We partner with international organizations  and companies that wish to share their aims and ambitions with those of the Earth Science Matters Foundation.


The Earth Science Matters Foundation consists of two main structural components. The Board determines the Foundation’s strategy and gives guidance on the main implementation lines. The Secretariat is in charge of implementing the Board’s directions and conducts that via three lines: the National Focal Points, the International Partners and the Foundation’s activities. The Board and the Secretariat are assisted by the Advisory Board. A significant part of the operations will be outsourced and conducted by external companies. 

The Board has a Chair and consists of at least two more members of the International Partners and up to five Regional representatives. Normally, the Board meets once every year. The Secretariat is led by the Executive Director. Supported by a small staff the Director is in charge for implementing the Foundation strategy as set out by the Board, communication with the National Focal Points, the International Partners, the media, the hosting organisation, for outsourcing specific outreach activities to companies, for realizing the Foundation’s projects, and for the daily operations at the Secretariat. 

The Advisory Board consists of the Patrons who are typically VIPs in top positions in Science, Government and Industry, the Goodwill Ambassadors, typically high placed persons who may represent the organisation on various occasions, and the Senior Advisors, key persons in international operations for the Earth Science Matters Foundation.

Who are We

Members of the Board

Dr. Eduardo de Mulder (Chair)

Eduardo De Mulder is a geologist and throughout his professional career he has been employed by the Geological Survey of the Netherlands (TNO) in various positions, from field geologist to manager of the Sustainable Management of the Subsurface business unit. He was Professor at Delft Technical University. Internationally, de Mulder has been President of the International Union of Geological Sciences, initiator and Executive Director of the UN proclaimed International Year of Planet Earth, and the Director of the Earth Science Matters Foundation. He has published 135 scientific publications and books. He is Springer’s editor of the World Regional Geography Series.

Prof. Olugbenga Akindeji Okunlola (GSAf representative)

Professor Olugbenga Okunlola holds a PhD degree in Economic Geology of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, where he is currently a full Professor and Head, Department of Geology. He has 38 years’ experience straddles the public service industry and academia. He is currently the Chairman of Mining Road map Implementation Strategy Team (MIST) for Nigeria’ mining sector. The President of the Geological Society of Africa, Immediate Past President of The Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, President of the Geoscience Information and Research in Africa Network (GIRAF) and Vice President for Africa, Association of Geoscientists for International Development (AGID).

Professor Okunlola has handled numerous consultancy and advisory assignments for national and international governments and local agencies. He currently has about 77 publications to his credit in many reputable Journals, conference proceedings and book chapters. He also holds fellowships and has been a member of the board for numerous professional associations, subgroups and technical committees. On a more personal note, Professor Okunlola is happily married with children.

Meng Wang (YES Network representative)

President of Young Earth Scientists (YES) Network and Senior Geologist in Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He started his career from 2008 in Ministry of Land and Resources and China Geological Survey for the Junior research on Geological projects, policy counseling, and management. In 2011, he transferred to China Minmetals Group, a world leading company in Mine industry, for 7 years where he lead several world rank projects on Iron Ore, Golden, Rare Earth, Copper in China, Canada, Tanzania, Australia and other part of the world.

Meng Wang has a strong interest in urban geology and application into underground space. He is a founding members of the National Engineering Innovation Center on Underground Space, Ministry of Natural Resources and coordinator of the first forum on Underground Space of China-UK-Finland. He joined the CAS in 2018 as the senior geologist and PhD researcher. Meng Wang now leads a high-level counsel project as High Quality Development of Underground Spaces around Yangzi Economic Belt as the World Cities Circle. He is also the Chief Scientist for West Australia Balla Balla Iron Ore Investment Project. Recently, Meng was nominated as the Executive Secretary of World Young Scientist Summit (WYSS) and member of the Youth UNESCO Climate Action Network (YoU-CAN) Ad-Hoc Steering Group.


Courtney Jermyn - van der Zee (Executive Director)

Courtney is a natural leader, mentor and entrepreneur with a drive to generate new opportunities, improve processes, and inspire the mind. She has over 16 years of extensive international experience as a consultant, business developer and specialist working globally on multidisciplinary and multinational geological and geotechnical projects for the energy (oil & gas, offshore wind), mining, built environment, and public sectors. Courtney is also experienced in implementing and facilitating various programs and professional sessions.

In 2011, Courtney joined the Earth Science Matters Foundation. She has been actively involved both conceptually and as project developer. In 2015, she was appointed Deputy Director and by 2017, she became the Executive Director of ESM.  Courtney is also member of the YES Network and recently nominated as one of the 50 Global Young Scientist Scholars (GYSS) of the World Young Scientist Summit WYSS).

Victoria Corcimaru (Youth Outreach)

Victoria Corcimaru is a young geoscientist dedicated to sharing her excitement for Earth sciences through content generation for the Earth Science Matters Foundation. She is excited to continue with her creative geoscience projects as a junior member of ESM and contribute to the Foundation’s mission of sharing that interest with others.

Advisory Board

Partners and Affiliations


The Foundation was registered on 17 December 2010 in The Netherlands as a non-profit organisation. Its domicile is Wageningen University & Research and Earth Science Matters operates under Dutch Law. Registration followed formal announcement by the Dutch Government at the United Nations on 13 May 2010 to consider hosting this Initiative in The  Netherlands. Once the Foundation will have reached a mature stage its premises will be located at the Environmental Sciences Group at Wageningen Campus. Until then Earth Science Matters operates mainly in a virtual mode.