and geology have been critical for civilization since the beginning
of mankind. As the late Charlie Dodge once said, "Geology is the
tools, weapons, agricultural needs, etc., geology has always had
an important role in the development and quality-of-life for mankind.
The public generally does not appreciate the importance of energy
and geology in everyday life; it doesn't react until it is "really
squeezed," according to Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski in a talk
before the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission about access
to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
is generally in the form of long lines at gasoline stations or some
the world's current and future energy needs will be supplied by
the fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas).
industry generally has a poor public image. This image hurts the
ability of the industry to do business — and also deters students
from entering the business. Enrollments in geoscience programs have
declined significantly over the last 15 years due to both shrinking
industry and the poor image.
industry needs a continuing supply of geoscientists to meet its
future needs. Thus there exists a need for public outreach about
energy issues and the importance of geology in today's world. Public
outreach is an important aspect of a professional society.
several committees that do varying amounts of public outreach. These
include our Public Outreach Committee (chaired by Lee Gerhard),
the DPA Government Affairs Committee, the Visiting Geologist Program,
various teacher and student programs, and publications.
statement of AAPG's Public Outreach Committee is "to develop means
of informing the public about geology in general and petroleum geology
in particular, and to report successful projects of AAPG's affiliated
societies." I am encouraging our Public Outreach Committee to focus
on the following items:
and disseminate information regarding energy supply and demand
issues to the public.
public understanding of the profession.
the public concerning the technology of exploring for and finding
petroleum and natural gas in an environmentally sound manner.
to the public AAPG's requirements for membership and certification.
successful outreach programs of our affiliated and sister societies.
new intersociety programs.
nurture and expand AGI's Earth Science Week.
information, position papers, and speakers for legislative hearings,
energy forums and public meetings.
public policy concerning petroleum geology and energy issues.
to nurture and support K-12 earth science programs.
convention activities in the host society area.
AAPG members to get active and serve in public affairs.
and promote popular geology projects (e.g., road signage, geologist-in-park
one-page fact sheets (e.g., climate, careers, the price of gas,
resource numbers, etc.).
an online/hard copy oil and gas primer.
online PowerPoint slide banks on key issues.
position papers developed by AAPG/DPA's Government Affairs Committee.
a "speakers bureau" that can be called on with short notice to
give public testimony.
an intersociety public outreach committee.
relationships with key news organizations.
popular geology projects that members can work on.
in education booths at various public meeting events (e.g., teacher
conventions, stock shows, etc.).
list of commonly asked questions about the petroleum industry.
list of things we can do is long!
you do as an individual member? Join the Public Outreach Committee
and help with the list. You can also help by participating in K-12
school programs when asked — or better yet, volunteer; lead public
field trips to popular geology outcrops; participate in public affairs;
and recruit students to the geosciences.
always be viewed by the public as a scientific society. We will
focus only on the facts and present information in a rational manner.
I feel strongly that AAPG must maintain a 'high road' position.
In addition, the public outreach that we do must be for the benefit
of the whole and not individual groups within AAPG.
of our program will be measured by maintaining the image of AAPG
as a scientific organization; improved image of the geoscience industry;
recruitment of students into geology programs; and expansion of
earth science programs in K-12 schools.
outreach needs to be conducted by the entire oil and gas profession
(professional societies, trade organizations and companies). Several
major oil and gas companies have started a new wave of public outreach
with short ads in some major magazines and television. These are
quite effective and I applaud their efforts.