Earth scientists not only study and explain topics such as Earth’s resources, the occurrence of natural hazards and changes in climate, but they also use new technologies and other innovations to help develop solutions that can help humanity work toward sustainable lifestyles. Because the worldwide demand for energy is higher than ever, petroleum geologists play a vital role in raising public awareness of the innovative techniques and technologies used in the geosciences. You are invited to share your expertise as we celebrate the 2023 Earth Science Week theme, “Geoscience Innovating for Earth and People.”
This year’s theme explores innovations that have enhanced the practices of collecting and analyzing data, communicating with the public and integrating work across the geosciences and other disciplines. Earth Science Week engages people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities to understand how all people are challenged to address critical needs as outlined by the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs describe how we can protect the environment while also improving the health, safety and equality of people worldwide.
Earth Science Week 2023 is Oct. 8-14. It is organized annually by the American Geosciences Institute in partnership with dozens of organizations, including AAPG, who develop media and opportunities for students and the public to learn about geoscience and, specifically this year, innovations and sustainability. As a geoscience professional, you can get involved virtually or in person to share your work and help others understand the importance of studying our Earth.
Centering on Innovation
The ESW 2023 toolkit provides a range of media (posters, learning activities, information about organizations) that can help build geoscience understanding and show innovations that change how Earth science is practiced and advance our understanding of Earth processes. Many toolkit materials are also directly connected to the SDGs, highlighting how the Earth sciences can help achieve these goals. Additionally, these connections can provide inspiration for students, teachers and others to get involved in work related to sustainability on a local or global scale.
Petroleum geologists and other science professionals can help their communities explore innovations in the geosciences in ways that spark curiosity and passion about science. We invite you to share information about new techniques, technology or processes with students and/or community members through discussions or field trips. You might inspire a future innovator who will take action to address problems faced by humanity. Discussion of how geoscience addresses real-world problems can call attention to related SDGs and how they relate to specific settings. It can also help to bring teachers current scientific research, data and innovations into classroom discussions and activities, which is important for making science feel relevant and current.
The Earth Science Week Toolkit
Specific items in this year’s ESW toolkit that bring attention to Earth science innovations and connections to SDGs include:
- The ESW 2023 Poster featuring images to show how drones are used in the geosciences. Examples include drones used to take data in inaccessible or dangerous environments, such as near volcanoes. Other examples show how drones can be fitted with sensors to collect specialized images and other data that can help scientists understand processes like crop growth or perform certain tasks such as locating orphaned wells. The back of the poster features learning activities for formal or informal educational settings and has links to resources to learn about other applications of drones. Drones will also be featured in a webinar on Tues., Oct. 10, 2023, as part of the ESW webinar series. A panel of experts will present and discuss drones as an innovative technology for making discoveries and understanding Earth’s features and processes. The webinar will conclude with a live question and answer session.
- The Earth Science Activity Calendar features educational activities authored or recommended by program partners that focus on innovative techniques and technologies used in the geosciences and how this work relates to one or more SDG.
AAPG’s “Mapping from Different Perspectives” activity engages middle school students in traditional mapping strategies (SDG 4: Quality Education) and how technology is being used to innovate how maps are made (SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure).
The Earth Science Information Partners’ “Simulating a Hurricane to Assess Hazard Risk” activity has students use a computer program to look at how climate change (SDG 13: Climate Action) affects hurricane strength and, therefore, the safety and sustainability of cities near the coast (SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities). These activities can help foster discussions about Earth science innovations, which can help in understanding and solving problems like the global issues the SDGs are intended to solve.
- The Geologic Map Day Poster features the use of lidar in the geosciences. For the first time, this is a two-sided poster. Side one illustrates and summarizes how lidar can be used to enhance geologic maps. Side two displays many applications of lidar in the geosciences, such as locating faults and landslides that are hidden by landcover, as well as critical mineral resources, some of which can be more easily identified by pairing radiometric and lidar data. Activities and resources related to this poster will be available on the ESW website for teachers to engage students in lessons about how lidar data is collected, processed and used as a way to enhance our understanding of the Earth.
As a professional in the geosciences, you can engage community members, students and educators by sharing your work and getting people excited about innovations in the Earth sciences. Sharing information and links on social media is another step you can take to increase awareness of ESW and associated events. The materials in the toolkit use a range of teaching and learning strategies to help educators and other professionals reach a wide audience. You can use the materials in the ESW toolkit to help others learn about how the geosciences can be used to assess and address many local and global issues.
Some partners, including the AAPG Foundation, provide financial support for ESW, and some contribute materials or input for the toolkit. Partners are acknowledged on the media they help create and on the toolkit packaging. A complete list of partners and sponsors can be found on at
AGI would like to thank all the sponsors and partners as well as the Earth science professionals both in the United States and internationally who host ESW events and use the toolkit materials to help others better understand Earth science concepts.