Geology Matters No. 7
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Enda Gallagher

International Year of Planet Earth logoAs reported in Issue 6 of Geology Matters the United Nations has designated 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE). Ireland fully supported the initiative and the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and various partners are now planning a series of events to make IYPE a success in this country.

Understanding our Earth
Planet Earth and issues that relate to it such as climate change, the environment, sustainability etc. are now receiving substantial press coverage and are of interest to growing numbers of people. GSI has seen this trend evolve and believes that IYPE is a unique opportunity to promote the contribution that Geoscience makes to society. Geoscience is all about understanding our earth and how it was formed and how it works. Such knowledge is now essential in helping us deal with some of the environmental and sustainability challenges facing our planet as a result of ongoing human activity and development and the natural changes that are taking place.

General Public Support
GSI believes that IYPE will achieve widespread support from the general public as we begin to publicise and promote our plans. GSI has been planning Ireland's programme of events for several months now with an enthusiastic National Committee and a squad of regional co-ordinators across the island, north and south. Indeed a special pre-launch information event aimed primarily at the geoscience sector took place in GSI offices on November 1st of this year to inspire interest in IYPE and encourage the development of additional activities.

Programme of Events
Planning for the year ahead has been continuing apace over the last few months. The National Committee is supporting and devising, and in some cases finalising, a series of attractive events, including a series of public lectures; Planet Earth Walks & Talks; a Planet Earth TV series; schools products; competitions; conference exhibits and much, much more, all underpinned by the publication of attractive brochures and a website (see details below). You will hear about events through publicity and media activity. The website will host a regularly updated Calendar of Events and a newsletter will also be published at frequent intervals (the first issue has already been published and can be downloaded from the website).

The formal launch of the IYPE year-long programme by Eamon Ryan T.D., Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources will take place in Dublin Castle on January 18th 2008. It will coincide with the first of the Planet Earth Public Lectures. This is to be delivered by the famous English zoologist and broadcaster, Professor Aubrey Manning, from the University of Edinburgh. His research interests cover animal behaviour, development and evolution and he has long been involved in environmental issues. His television series have included “Seven Wonders of the Earth” and “Earth Story.” His talk, provisionally entitled “Nurturing the future of our Planet” will deal with the expected course of climate change and environmental evolution, and how our behaviour (and that of geoscience) can impact on both of them.

All island initiative
IYPE is being developed on an all-island basis. The island of Ireland is home to a wide range of spectacular landscapes from the incredible basalt columns of the Giant's Causeway to the magnificent limestone pavements of the Burren, both locations well known throughout the world. IYPE activities will be spread right across the island with local groups everywhere planning events right on your own doorstep.

IYPE Website
The IYPE website for Ireland http://www.planetearth.ie/ is currently live with introductory content. As we approach 2008 additional content will be added including news, photographs, programme of events updates, educational materials etc. The website will become the leading resource for those interested in regularly finding out more about IYPE. In particular the site will focus on reaching out to the general public and the education sector. Please visit the site – often.

For any further details on IYPE or if you would like to be invited to the Dublin Castle launch or the information event mentioned in the article, please contact Enda Gallagher at GSI – 01 6782834 or enda.gallagher@gsi.ie.

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