Presidential Address & Awards

Presidential Address & Awards Ceremony

Presidential Address

The Future of the Geosciences In the Context of Climate Disruption

Sunday, noon - 1:30 p.m., PCC, North Ballroom 120D, North Building

Donald Siegel

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Donald Siegel
Donald Siegel, GSA President

I speak to a rapidly emerging climate disruption, a result of probably the most sweeping self-inflicted tragedy of the commons in human history. A “tragedy of the commons” occurs when multiple people use a common resource owned by none (Hardin, 1968), and then subsequently degrade it to achieve individual economic advantage. With respect to climate disruption, I see no compelling evidence that sufficient numbers of the developed and undeveloped nations that currently release large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane to our common atmosphere will make the economic and political decisions to prevent a two-degree increase in average global tropospheric temperature. This increase is the threshold beyond which severe climate disruption will likely occur for the foreseeable future (e.g. Knutti and others, 2016).

I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t strive for a renewable future. We must. The world could, in fact, theoretically generate sufficient green energy if we installed solar panels on a few hundred square miles of each of the world’s major deserts, retooled and smartened up our electric grids, and developed orders-of-magnitude more electrical storage capacity than we now have. But to do this, the world will also need many times the amount of rare elements that we now mine on an annual basis.  Where, I ask, will these rare earths come from?

Until climate disruption seriously affects the personal well-being of large swaths of economically well-to-do humanity, little will be done globally to address the problem at the scale of effort needed—I repeat—at the scale of effort needed – in the time we have left to do it.

GSA Awards Ceremony

Sunday, noon - 1:30 p.m., PCC, North Ballroom 120D, North Building

Please join GSA President Donald Siegel and GSA Vice President/President-Elect J. Douglas Walker to honor and greet the 2019 GSA Medal & Award recipients and Newly Elected Fellows.

At this year’s combined event, Siegel will deliver his Presidential Address followed by Vicki McConnell, Executive Director of GSA, who will provide a presentation on the state of the Society, and Jack Hess will provide a GSA Foundation update. All are welcome; no reservations, tickets, or meeting registration required.

The Presidential Address & Awards Ceremony is part of the Feed Your Brain series. Enjoy Lunchtime Enlightenment each day with these fantastic speakers as you nourish your body and mind.

Get to know the Penrose, Day, and Donath medalists at the Gold Medal Lectures:

Penrose Medal
Tanya M. Atwater, GSA’s 2019 Penrose Medal recipient, will discuss “Continental Plate Tectinics and Some Long-standing Controversies Surrounding the Tectonic History of Western North America,” in session T64. Celebrating the Legacy of Professor Eldridge Moores in Global Tectonics and Societal Relevance of Geosciences; Monday, 1:35–1:55 p.m. PCC, Room 127ABC, North Building

Arthur L. Day Medal
John W. Valley, GSA’s 2019 Arthur L. Day Medal recipient, will discuss the “The Microanalysis Revolution In Isotope Geochemistry,” in session T29: Mineralogical Society of America (MSA) at 100: Reflections, Refractions, Diffractions, Intrusions, Subductions, Reactions, etc. from MSA Past Presidents II; Monday, 1:35–1:55 p.m. PCC, Room 131ABC North Building

Young Scientist Award (Donath Medal)
Jessica R. Creveling, GSA’s 2019 Young Scientist Award (Donath Medal) recipient, will speak on “Quantitative Stratigraphic Correlation,” in session T81. Hello (Ancient) World!: Exploring the Neoproterozoic to Cambrian Interval by Quantitatively Probing the Rock Record; Wednesday, 5:05–5:25 p.m. PCC, Room 226ABC North Building