Global challenges – Dr Martin Smith MBE, Science Director, British Geological Survey

Wed 2nd October 2019 at 7.00 pm - 8.30 pm

The Sustainable Development Goals and how geology can make a difference

Members of the club were very fortunate to receive a very informative talk from Dr Martin Smith on Global Challenges surrounding Geological work.

The talk began with the Sustainable Development goals which followed on from the Millennium goals (revised in 2015), of which there are 17 including No poverty, Quality Education, Gender Equality and Sustainable Cities and Communities.
A number of global challenges have been identified:
⦁    Leave no one behind
⦁    Focus on resilience
⦁    Integrations of whole systems approach
⦁    People centred -view partnership

The UK Government’s response to the challenges is that as the 5th largest economy it contributed 0.7% of GNI which was approximately £13.4 bn in 2016 and it’s international charitable sector includes 15,000 organisations worth around £13.6 bn.

Dr Smith emphasised the sustained nature of geology, quoting from the 1987 UN Assembly:
“Sustainable Development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

This should also align with the priorities of DFID, provide access to clean water, global food security (sustainable agriculture), economic development including the digital economy etc.
A key aspect of measuring this work is to look at impact and have robust monitoring and evaluation in place.

3 case studies were looked at

Dr Smith highlighted a number of issues regarding population growth around the world
⦁    By 2050, 70% of the global population will live in cities
⦁    Six cities in the world have an annual growth rate greater than the population of Europe.
⦁    In SE Asia, the majority of cities are on low level land
⦁    Cities generate heat – in Japan, night time temperatures in cities are up to 2.5 degrees Celsius hotter
To help mitigate some of this, there are plans to move buildings underground, including from Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.

Geohazard risk and citizen science
This is based on observing nature and people. We were told about the MyHAZ App which has been developed to provide information on different hazards and to gather information on the impacts. The App will provide information during, e.g. a volcano, such as location, closed roads etc and will provide lots of data for analysis.

Resource and development corridor
There is ongoing work as to where these could be developed, e.g. for gas, oil etc. Such a development in Kenya was discussed where large aquafers had been found. Such developments had to be evaluated for impact to ensure that local communities were involved in the process.

Finally, John Dea thanked Dr Smith for an excellent and interesting presentation which provided a real insight into the value of the work that Geologist do across the work.