ESM participation in Japan Geoscience Union (JpGU) meeting in Yokohama, 29 April to 2 May 2014

On invitation by the JpGU and sponsored by the new e-journal Progress on Earth and Planetary Sciences the ESM Executive Director attended the annual JpGU Conference in Yokohama, Japan. This annual geoscience meeting belongs to the largest in the world and attracted about 7,000 geoscientists, predominantly from Japan. Prof. Yukio Himiyama, the leader of the Human Geoscience section in Japan and Vice-President of the International Geographical Union invited ESM to address the audience in a Union Session on Future Earth. Prominent Japanese scientists highlighted various aspects on this major international science initiative which emerged from the Rio+20 Conference in 2012. ESM’s contribution to this session was entitled ‘How will Humanity survive and flourish on Future Planet Earth’. In this presentation the interaction between human activities and Planet Earth’ bearing capacity was explored. First, progress in the Earth sciences in the last five decades was highlighted. This was followed by a description of humanity’s evolution since 1950 and projected development towards 2050. This was done in term of global population, urbanization, living standard and environmental awareness. Next, geo-environmental pressures evoked by such developments on Planet Earth’ bearing capacity were described together with the type of adjustment and compensation generated by the Earth as a response to such pressures. Geoscientists might cope with such Earth responses by mobilizing significantly more human brain power through 2.7 billion additional and better educated people benefiting from exponentially increasing ICT potentials in the next few decades. Future Earth might be considered one of such concerted actions by the global scientific community. However, the geosciences in general are underrepresented in this initiative, and the solid Earth sciences are not represented at all in Future Earth’s Scientific Committee. ESM believes that this omission will disqualify Future Earth’s contribution to the global community. Addressing sustainability by coping with geo-environmental pressures requires more geo-brain power with more young people embarking on a professional career in the geosciences. Proper geoscience outreach is therefore indispensable. This presentation will be published in the second volume of PEPS soon. In the oral presentation all ESM Partners and Affiliates were highlighted.