Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Communicating Geohazards to the Public

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Geoscientific knowledge and understanding lies at the heart of many of the most critical societal issues that face us in the 21st century. The pressing human challenges of natural disaster reduction, energy supply and security, and mineral and water resource management, rest on geological foundations. And yet, outside of the academic and industrial geoscience community there is a limited appreciation of Earth Science, especially among policy makers. Geology, it seems, lies out of sight and out of mind. For that reason, geologists are increasingly being encouraged to communicate more broadly what they do and what they know. Yet how can we do that when, for most people, geology is about 'stones' and stones are 'boring'! It is a problem compounded by the fact that many of our most acute geo-issues are rooted in the unfamiliar realm of the deep subsurface. This talk will use the experience of popularising geoscience for mainstream television to explore ways in which geologists can make our research connect better with the dissonant public, and in doing so forge more effective strategies for meaningful public engagement.

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Lecturer:

Iain Stewart
Professor of Geoscience Communication and
Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute at Plymouth University
BBC film series presenter
Member of the Order of the British Empire (2013)
European Federation of Geologists Medal of Merit (2016)