I recently learned about the American Geoscience Institute’s (AGI) Critical Issues Program, a “portal to decision-relevant, impartial, expert information from across the geosciences.” This website is a potential place to look when you are searching for information related to issues at the intersection of geoscience and society, including energy, climate, water, mineral resources and natural hazards. In fact,writing that last sentence also made me think of recent commentary I read titled “Why I am a geoscientist” in which the author, Erig Riggs, PhD, states that he loves being a geoscientist because it is an “area of science so directly relevant to the public.”
Energy topics covered include coal, geothermal energy, hydraulic fracturing, mineral resources, nuclear energy, oil and gas and renewable energy. The “Basics” section for each energy topic includes a brief summary that also describes why this topic matters to society and that explains how geoscience informs decisions about the particular topic. The “Learn More” section includes links to introductory resources, frequently asked questions, related maps and visualizations along with references. Resources featured come from the US Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Geological Society of America, The National Academies and USGS and others.
Furthermore, AGI offers three earth science focused activities aligned to the Common Core English Language Arts standards and the Next Generation Science Standards that can be used to prepare grades 6-12 students to read and evaluate informational text.
Want to learn more? Check out AGI’s Center for Geoscience and Society.