Geologist Attends Young Earth Scientists Conference

ISGS geologist Jiao Yong, left, Mary Seid, Dean Feller, and Sun Pengfei at the Young Earth Scientists Conference in Beijing, China. With funding from the Geological Society of America, Illinois State Geological Survey geologist Mary J. Seid attended the First World Young Earth Scientists (Y.E.S.) Congress 2009. The Congress was held October 25-28 in Beijing, China, at the China University of Geosciences-Beijing. A rich and diverse program of technical presentations relating earth sciences to society made up the four-day program. The program included talks by young geoscientists from Austria, Australia, Italy, India, Tanzania, United States, Argentina, United Kingdom, China, Sri Lanka, Malawi, France, South Africa, Norway, Russia, The Netherlands, Mexico, and Brazil. Talks focused on many pressing issues including groundwater, natural disasters, health, energy and sustainability, climate, mineral resources, megacities, deep earth, oceans, soils, biodiversity, digital earth engineering, geoparks, and geoheritage conservation. Discussion roundtables were unique to this conference and covered topics including Women in the Geoscience Workforce, Climate Change, Natural Hazards, Transfer of Credentials and International Licensure, Natural Resources and Energy Sustainability, Issues Facing Geoscience Education and Research, Industry-Academic Linkages, and a final Synthesis and Strategy roundtable. The Synthesis and Strategy session identified a number of key findings for active work by the Y.E.S. Network. The more than 300 senior and junior scientists in geological surveys and industries from around the world will depend on cutting-edge science, communication, and a strong vision in order to arrive at strategies to address the issues identified by the Congress.

The Y.E.S. Congress 2009 was a launching pad for the future. The Y.E.S. Network intends to increase its membership and increase awareness of the issues connecting the geosciences and society through visibility at numerous international conferences, education, and outreach in the present countries of membership. The Y.E.S. Network will build on the support of many international organizations (including UNESCO, International Year of Planet Earth [IYPE], and the International Union of Geological Sciences) and United States organizations (including Geological Society of America and the American Institute of Professional Geologists). The Y.E.S. Congress was organized as a direct result of IYPE, which occurs during 2007-2009 and aims to contribute in making societies safer, healthier, and more prosperous by using largely underutilized earth science knowledge in decision making. The aim of the Y.E.S. Congress was to connect young earth scientists from around the globe and to identify many crucial issues that the Y.E.S. Network can focus on in the immediate future. The Y.E.S. Network was envisioned by a group of earth scientists who realized the growing need to educate policy makers on earth science issues that will significantly affect the younger generation. With climate change, a growing world population, and global economies, the political support of the geosciences is absolutely necessary. The future belongs to the incoming generation of earth scientists. Well-informed politicians make better policies, and the Y.E.S. Network is committed to increasing teamwork, collaboration, outreach, and connection of the next generation of politicians with earth scientists. The next Y.E.S. Congress will be held in conjunction with the 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane, Australia, in 2012. For more information about the Y.E.S. Congress, please visit http://www.yescongress2009.org/index.php.