What Should Every Citizen Know About Earth Science?

The Earth Science Literacy Initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation, has prepared a draft document outlining what every citizen should know about Earth science. When completed, this community-generated document will serve as an essential resource for policy makers, educators, students, and the general public. To view the document and submit your comments by January 15, please go to http://www.earthscienceliteracy.org/document.html.

This document complements the efforts of the Ocean, Climate and Atmospheric Science communities in defining and codifying the underlying concepts essential for an Earth-system literate public. The initial Earth Sciences Literacy draft was the product of a 350-participant online workshop held in May 2008 and a 35-participant in-person writing workshop held in July 2008. These workshops, supported by the National Science Foundation, brought together scientists from a broad spectrum of the geosciences, including mineralogists, petrologists, resource explorationists, sedimentologists and statigraphers, paleontologists, tectonists, geophysists, geomorphologists, low-temperature geochemists and biogeochemists, continental dynamacists, volcanologists, geohazard specialists, and members of the freshwater hydrologic science community. During October 2008, the first draft was released and available for comment by the public. Those comments have been incorporated into the current draft document.

While many hours of work went into preparing the draft Earth Sciences Literacy document, it is important to make sure it represents the current state of Earth science understanding. This is a critical time for our science - the geosciences can play a critical role in helping society meet the challenges of natural hazards and human impacts on the environment. Please help make this document accurate and engaging by reviewing the Earth Science Literacy draft and providing your input!

Please contact Michael Wysession at michael@seismo.wustl.edu with any questions.