Care About the Environment? Join DEG

“Don’t you care about the environment?”

DEG’s founder and first president – and an AAPG past president and legend – Bruno Hanson directly challenged me with that question.

He followed up with, “Most geologists that I know got into this profession by first having a love for the outdoors.”

Some of those who knew Bruno were surprised that he was such an advocate for the Division of Environmental Geosciences, as Bruno was the consummate West Texas independent wildcatter. Yet, he was exactly right in understanding that we professional geologists have a passion for the outdoors and for maintaining the environment.

He asked me to consider joining the DEG and supporting its objectives. I became a founding member of the DEG, though I confess that through most of my career I stayed pretty removed from the profession of environmental geoscience.

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“Don’t you care about the environment?”

DEG’s founder and first president – and an AAPG past president and legend – Bruno Hanson directly challenged me with that question.

He followed up with, “Most geologists that I know got into this profession by first having a love for the outdoors.”

Some of those who knew Bruno were surprised that he was such an advocate for the Division of Environmental Geosciences, as Bruno was the consummate West Texas independent wildcatter. Yet, he was exactly right in understanding that we professional geologists have a passion for the outdoors and for maintaining the environment.

He asked me to consider joining the DEG and supporting its objectives. I became a founding member of the DEG, though I confess that through most of my career I stayed pretty removed from the profession of environmental geoscience.

That was until I became heavily involved in the operations of unconventional plays and I had to immerse myself in the environmental and societal impacts of unconventional development.


This year I am honored and humbled to take on the role of president of the DEG after immersing myself this past year as president-elect under the superb leadership of Jeff Paine, last year’s president, and the entire Executive Committee. I want to welcome the new DEG Executive Committee:

  • Bruce Smith – vice president.
  • Tim Murin – president-elect.
  • Sean Kimiagar – secretary-treasurer.
  • Michelle Cooney – editor.
  • Jeff Paine – past president.

Paine encouraged us to be more proactive and less reactive when it comes to environmental issues. To that end, the DEG has several new initiatives that I think you will find exciting.

The first is to create a connection with every AAPG member, whether they currently are a DEG member or not – and to that end we have recharged the DEG Advisory Board and now have excellent representation for every AAPG Section and Region.

This means that wherever you are, you have a direct contact and representative to the DEG leadership team. Their names and contacts are on our new website, so please connect with them.

The Advisory Board will tackle some of our larger issues from the depths of their global expertise and suggest courses of action for our Executive Committee to enact.

Second, we have redesigned the DEG website to make it more interactive and to keep current information of use to all AAPG members on the site.

Be sure to check it out. There is now a DEG Blog, updated information on events of interest and extra information on the “member’s only” portion of the site for DEG members.

The Environmental Division does require a small dues payment as we do publish a separate peer-reviewed journal, “Environmental Geosciences,” with excellent articles under the stewardship of Michelle Cooney. I will talk more about this great publication in future columns.

Third, there will be greater DEG content and participation at Section and Region meetings, and we already are well under way with the environmental programs for the Melbourne ICE and next year’s Calgary ACE. Look for the Call for Abstracts and be sure to submit an oral or poster presentation.

We also have lent our endorsement to the 22nd IPEC Conference in Denver

this November. The Integrated Petroleum Environmental Consortium (IPEC) is an academic consortium dedicated to finding low-cost solutions to environmental challenges facing independent producers in the oil business.


So as Bruno Hanson challenged me, let me challenge you.

What do you care about?

What current or future environmental issues are important to you?

If knowing, understanding and working toward best practices of protecting our environmental resources is at all important to you, then you should be an active part of the DEG. If you want to help in formulating policy statements or whitepapers, then let us know. 

Now is the time, if you are not already a member, to come join us in the Division of Environmental Geosciences.

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