Geosciences and responsibility
A major theme Geosciences and Responsibility is discussed here, which, according to my opinion, has not been taken in mind sufficiently. I want to revive my suggestion about that theme, which I consider as more important than ever before and which I attempted to put up for discussion earlier (see also the preface of the book: 250 years of industrial..: footnote 1 in chaper 3; chapter 5). Because more knowledge is very often equivalent to a higher quantum of power, influence and potential in creative impulse as well as the possibility of being superior, it is inside the field of application of reason positively correlated with responsibility. These circumstances made possible the Russell-Einstein-Manifesto (1955) and the Declaration of Goettingen (1957). Therefrom I conclude in advance: geoscientists carry a higher degree of responsibility for the actual climate change, because - unlike persons outside this subject area - they are provided with detailed knowledge about the physical, chemical and biological procedures in dynamics and development of the Earth system and therefore also of the atmosphere; in order to realise their responsibility, they have to make strong efforts to mitigate climate change; thus a part of them joined the NGO Scientists for Future. Serious doubts about the reasons and critical nature of the climate change, of the crises in environment and health as well as the entailed risks have been settled. The president of the Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe Prof. Ralph Watzel presented during the Munich Security Conference in 2017 the paper Responsible Management of Resources as Global Task as contribution in the book Germany's new Responsibility in chapter IV, entitled New Responsibility for our Fundamentals of Life and stated: Sustainable management of the geo-resources ground water and mineral raw materials is a precondition for safe life and economy. A metastudy, published in January 2021 and consisting of ca. 150 relevant papers summarised that the actual global environmental state is more precarious than generally assumed; the reasons are overpopulation, unsustainable consumption of ressources, political failure and not realised agreements to shelter climate and nature. In order to mitigate these risks, a part of the agenda of the World Economic Forum 01-2021 in Davos dealt with the topics of sustainable economic systems, responsibility and industrial growth, fostered responsibility for the global commons and utilisation of the technologies of the industrialisation 4.0. According to the World Risk Report, weapons of mass destruction, climate change and loss of biodiversity account to the major actual threats. In the report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, climate change, loss of biodiversity and the Sars Covid-19 Pandemics are seen as serious crises, which make necessary a quick, fundamental and comprehensive reorganisation of the system. During the UN climate summit on 12.12.2020, secretary-general A. Guterres requested a speedy restriction of global greenhouse gas emissions; the same opinion was given by the US climate attorney J. Kerry during the Munich Security Conference on 02.19.2021.
According to the corporate image given in the preamble of the Department of Geo- and Environmental Sciences, the topics climate, environment and resources belong to its sphere of competences. It consists of the disciplines geology, mineralogy/petrology/geochemistry, crystallography, geophysics, resource geology, geotechnology and hydrogeology. This implies also the transfer of basic knowledge about the formation of ore deposits and mining; the application of the both latter were essential components in establishing industrialisation. Beside these disciplines, the science of palaeoclimatology is implemented, which is part of Earth history and in which research is done to analyse past climate changes and to find the reasons having caused them.
Biosphere and complex forms of life cannot exist without geological substratum. Therefore the economy, necessary for physical alimentation of humans, is compulsatorily matter-bound and involves encroachments in the bio-, hydro-, pedo- and uppermost lithosphere. Economy cannot grow without input of mineral commodities (Pohl 2020: 482). This demand made necessary that, intensified since the beginning of industrialisation, a part of the geoscientists - designated at that time as mining assessors, mining administrators, mining commissioners, mine foremen, bailiffs of the mines, designated today as mining-, resource- and economic geologists - fed the economic system by enlarged provision of mineral raw materials and propelled it continuously - except a few crises - accoding to its inherent economic principles of profit and growth. The pollutants, however, released during mining, transport and refinement into the commons (e. g. soil, water, atmosphere), effected above a critical level changes in the global climate, in the ecosystems of the biosphere and in the quality of the environment. Established fact is that innumerable sources of mineral commodities were created, but complementary by far too few safe sinks for pollutants and wastes, which have originated during refinement and production. They accumulated as poisons in the spheres of earth, because biocapacities were insufficient to absorbe them or to decompose them into benign matters.
And another part of the geoscientists - palaeoecologists, palaeoclimatologists and palaeontologists - progressed since the era of enlightenment (ca. 1750) via analysis of climate archives embedded in sediment deposits in understanding, which natural factors have caused global disturbation of the climate of the past and - in the case of reversibility - how long it lasted, until the Earth system has accomodated such events. These results can also be applied to better understand the actual climate crisis and to specify climate prognosis.
The benign aspects of the direct and indirect consequences of the activities of economic and mining geologists are undisputed and highly appreciated: Higher security in food supply and betterment of food quality; progress in medical techniques and pharmaceutical products; higher life expectancy; more durable material for exo- and endoprostheses; batteries for cardiac pacemakers; more stable building materials; progress in mobility; improvement of quality of telecommunication and volume increase of data transfer and flux of information; progress in education; development of wellbeing in the western world; replacement of very hard, monotonous or dangerous work by machines/robots; etc.. Nearly nobody likes to do without these real advances and wants to live under the conditions, which existed 200 years ago.
But mentioned supply of mineral raw materials can, as already indicated, develop parallel to its undisputal overwhelmingly benign effects also advers aspects, when the supply is adapted thoughtlessly in exclusive manner and irrespective of other factors to rising demand and economic growth. The expanding economic system, eutrophised by input of mineral commodities, turned out to be a too heavy burden for the limited capacities of the finite biosphere, into which economy is embedded as subsystem; quantum facit velenum (Paracelsus). Without the predominantly unconditioned activities of this part of the geoscientists in a one-sided economic system driven by profit, competition and growth and characterised by rising demand of commodities, the Full World (Daly, 2005), inclusively all its positive developments, but also risky states and impaired parts, would never have come into existence since ca. 1950. The latter are equivalent to an evacuated realm of shades, which originated contrapuntally to the Full World: utilisation-forced push-back of natural land and ruinous exploitation of mineral commodities in order to expand and maintain the techno- and capitalospheres effected fragmentation and demise of intact ecosystems, risky transformations and irreversible loss of original parts of nature. Despite progress in dematerialisation, efficacy and recycling, mining will remain one of the main constituents of the core of industry and world economy, which fulfills essential, but also high demands and greed. The both latter must be seen critically: because of the expensive and environmentally degrading material cycles, intensified by the pseudo-necessity of its fulfillment: detection of mineral raw material is expensive, wearysome, necessitates experience and expert knowledge; its extraction is difficult; despite higher standards dangerous, unhealthy and has caused many fatalities; mining destroys landscapes and ecosystems; transport and industrial refinement/processing is costly and environmentally degrading, because of the pollutants emitted during production; the same accounts for declassified products disposed of as waste. Despite other opinions, which I reject, mining can never be sustainable, because mineral raw materials originated in geological times, but humans consume them in a few hundred years. All the more questionable is wasting huge masses of valuable mineral raw materials for non relevant luxury goods and luxury services as well as for supply of a pseudo-demand, caused by profit driven, shortened product cycles. In the long run, these already wasted parts of mineral raw materials will be no more available in the case of real necessity to supply essential demands. Since the year 1970 humans overuse the Earth. Each year the earth overshoot day occurs earlier in time: 1971: 12.24.; 2019: 07.29.); country related: 2021: BRD 05.05.; USA 03.14.. Actually the biocapacities of 1.6 Earths are necessary to supply humans with material and services; country related: BRD - 3 Earths; USA 5 - Earths. The socioeconomic metabolism of the industrial nations needs to be curbed. Prof. E. Ulrich von Weizsäcker calls for an era of enlightenment 2.0, in which sustainable transformations and decisions on all levels must be made in favour of nature. He thinks that in the meantime enough new knowledge has developed to start the necessary changes, to stop malign trends and to abandon certain ways of life, persuasions and convictions.
Because advertising and social engineering control on broad front consumer's behaviour and - regarding precarious jobs and the numbers of unemployed persons - because politics is in the stranglehold of economy, I call for more loud and critical voices of common sense in the primary industry and in the geoscientific institutions and academies, which, out of responsibility, demand limitations in production and realistic prices for mineral raw materials and state that their supply must be restricted to essential demands. Especially since economic and resource geologists are confronted directly with the physical, biological, temporal, societal and medical near- and long-range effects of the direct and indirect consequences of their work at the beginning of an industrial value added chain. They can directly observe, which products are created out of the supplied mineral raw materials and whether the intended purposes and applications are appropriate, well-considered, sustainable and wise. It is unreasonable to prospect for petroleum, so that 1) a few rich persons have fun on round-the-world cruises and 2) it is sold for dumping prices and thus wasted.
In sum: I dare to state that since the beginning of industrialisation a fraction of the geoscientists pours via exploration, exploitation and supply of mineral raw materials - in transferred sense - too much oil into the fire, keep simultaneously the problematic consequences of its activities in sight, but remains idle, instead of getting involved. This behaviour may be explained by thinking exclusively of profit and growth, by not looking beyond horizons (one-track specialist) or by just dutifully executing commands. Of course it is possible that also sensible and brave voices of this professional field made themselves heard to oppose against the troubling growth of exploitation of mineral raw materials; and if this really has occurred, their sphere of influence was too small. But it is an encouraging aspect that in the meantime organisations like the International Council of Mining and Metals were founded, which discuss the theme responsibility and mining and develop standards in mining- and tailings-techniques (ICMM's Mining Principals define good practice environmental, social and governance requirements); and that measures in efficacy have caused a decoupling between GDP and amount of input of mineral raw materials.
Examples: Without supply of mineral raw metarials, made possible by application of geoscientific knowledge,
- military armaments would not have escalated to the resulted dimensions like Overkill and Cold War. For that development heavy metals for weapons and batteries (Pb, Fe, Cu), explosives, fuels and propellants of all kinds, steel stabilisers (W, V, Ni, Cr), strategic metals (Al, U, Pu, REE, etc.), other basic materials for manufacturing e. g. tanks, jeeps, humvees and bombers (glas, asbestos, tyre wear, plastics, etc.) and for the B-C weapons were indispensable. At least 145 mio. persons lost their lifes in war since the year 1800; invalid and psychically traumatised veterans as well as civilians are innumerable. In the year 2020, ca. 500.000 disabled persons were registered, who survived explosions of land mines, after having entered erroneously devil's gardens. On the floors of the world oceans hundreds of rusting and decomposing bombed or torpedoed battleships, submarines and tactical aircrafts containing fuels and ammunition characterised by hydrotoxic properties are dispersed.
- only small increases in global agricultural yield would have occurred. Only by exploitation of e. g. potassium- and phosphate deposits and thereof produced artificial fertilisers, by the Haber-Bosch ammonia synthesis and by falling prices of commodities, it war possible to boost crop yields; although the overall size of global agricultural areas could be enlarged between 1960-2006 by only 11%, world population doubled to 6.6 bn during the same time. Bettered supply effected increase in world population, number and size of cities, trade volumina and stocks of food animals. Problems resulting from this kind of concentration are: smog; epi- and pandemics; slums; workmen misery; industrial agriculture; food animal suffering; origination of unhealthy ways of life and dietary habits; wasting of food and artificial fertilisers; surplus of application of antibiotics to farm animals caused origination of grave resistances against pathogenic germs; destruction of wilderness areas by creation of farmland; loss of biodiversity; lowering, pollution and warming of ground water; impairment of farmland by its overuse; intensified soil erosion; eutrophication of surface waters; deoxygenation of parts of shelf areas; rising supply risks (e. g. shortage of phosphate deposits); etc.. There exists no peaceful technical solution for the unsustainable state of overpopulation. How can ca. 10 bn persons be fed enough in the year 2050?
- neither industries for petrochemistry and coal nor ensuing steel blast furnaces, cement plants, thermal power stations, heating- and cooling devices as well as gas combustion engines would have originated: exploration geologists localise in sedimentary layers deposits of hard coal, lignite, tar sands, petroleum and natural gas to secure supply. During predominantly thermal utilisation of these refined mineral raw materials for endothermic chemical syntheses, for propulsion-, heating- and air conditioning purposes, more than 2 TeraT of CO2 of fossil carbon have been emitted since the beginning of the industrialisation into the atmosphere. The consequences: Warming of the atmosphere by greenhouse gases, followed by warming and acidification of the hydrosphere, demise and labilisation of the cryosphere, sea level rise, adaptation pressure on flora, fauna and humans, alteration of atmospheric and oceanic circulation- and convection systems, etc..
- the large scale and alarming proportions of the global building- and construction activities would not have occurred. Exploration and extraction of gravel, sand and clay, carbonate and silicate rock provided material for houses, fundaments of roads, superhighways, railroads, airports, etc.; the summarised mass of all built constructions up to now - the technosphere - is estimated at ca. 30.11 TeraT. The side-effects of that development are e. g. imperviousity of wide areas to infiltration water, subsidence caused by load, irreversible soil compaction caused by diminution of its permeability, increased soil erosion because of diminished infiltration of rain- and snowmelt waters, ground water recession, destruction and dissection of biotopes, degradation of farmland or wilderness area by overbuilding, loss of natural land, farmland and development areas upstream of river dams; increased erosion downstream of river dams due to retained fluvial detritus. Increased erosion alongside river courses and marine coasts because of extraction of gravel and sand.
- wiring, digital networking and mechanisation of the world to gain faster and more comfortable communication and mobility would not have occurred: the global electrification, which began at the end of the 19th century, could only be realised by supply of large quantities of metals (e. g. Cu, Fe, Zn, Pb, Sn). These elevated requirements in mining grew further since ca. 1970, as supply of more divers metals became more important because of electronics and digital technology: the fabrication of computers, vacuum tube screens, handies, smart phones, flat screens, light emitting diods, solar panels, electric motors, wind turbines etc. required higher quantities of diverse high-tech metals: In (displays), Ga (LEDs), Nd and Dy (permanent magnets, lasers), Ge (fibre optic cables), Pt (galvanic fuel cells, catalysis), Ta (microcapacitors), Gd (medical technique), Li and Co (battery technique). The question matters, whether the not abundant, in part only scarcely occurring and sometimes to only few countries restricted commodities of these metals will be available in sufficient quantities and whether they can be substituted in the case of predictable depletion of their occurrences. Li-bearing minerals, which are also recovered in ecologically sensitive regions (brines from saline lakes on altiplanos, e. g. Salar de Atacama, Chile) are regarded as critical in their availability. Co-, Nb- and Ta-bearing commodities are conflict mineral raw materials, because during extractive work in the source countries often social, labour legislative and health standards are disregarded and profits from mining are mobilised to finance wars.
Catalysts containing platinum are necessary to crack petroleum. The chemical element Pt is an accessory component of the lithosphere: 1 T of the host rock anorthosite contains on average 10 g of Pt-minerals. These can be extracted, when the bulk material has been milled to powder. Thus the production of a few grams of Pt causes the addition of a further metric ton of anorthosite slurry into a tailings pond deposit and CO2 emitted into the atmosphere.
It is doubted whether the global replacement of fossil energy carriers for electricity and heat (11.1 TW) by wind and solar energy can be financed and implemented within the existing time frame. The permanent and complete replacement of fossil energy carriers by fresh plant agrofuels is impossible, because the necessary quantity of cellulosic biomass is not present.
Additionally high tech metals will be required on large scale for electrolytes, components to electrolyse water to produce green hydrogen; H2 is favoured as less environmentally detrimental base load energy carrier, implemented after the planned transformations in mobility and energy. A pending question is, whether enough mineral raw materials will be localised by prospectors, so that thereof sufficient amounts of metals can be produced to substitute the globally existing 1.8 bn vehicles and many more machines powered by gas combustion motors with electric propelled devices.
Resulting from the just given explanation of the eminent, i. e. basic and central meaning of multiple, direct and indirect consequences of applications of geoscientific and geotechnical knowledge for society and nature/environment, it should be justified to institute according to the ethics of responsibility another point in the cluster of geoscientific faculties; this step would enable to analyse, discuss and evaluate the consequences of applications driven by bare necessity, but also by economic growth, profit and competition: that is the complementary discipline
Geosciences - ethics and responsibility.
The defined preamble given by the department, already addressing indirectly the point of responsibility, might be the abstracted mental base of this new discipline. Here, students get information about the integral effects of their future occupational activities. Alternatively it should be considered, whether all these themes can be transferred to the already existing Faculty of Ethics of the University or into the Competence Centre Ethics; probably not, because both are deluged by numerous other topics in the wide fields of ethics. Out of this reason, a separate professorial chair for ethics in human medicine has already been instituted.
According to my opinion, ethics in geosciences is at least as important as in physics, chemistry, biology, informatics-digitalisation, etc., because
- supply, predominantly dissipative use and dumping of growing amounts of mineral raw materials and thereof refined products effected 1) a significant disorder of the world climate state, which was relatively stable since the end of the last ice age, and 2) large scale and long lasting, in part irreversible biospheric transformations, entailing unpredictable, additional existence risks;
- application of geoscientific and geotechnological expertise resulted in prospection and supply of mineral raw materials for ever more weapons and warfare agents as well as for products and services, already indicated as hazardous.
Only one geoscientist is member in the committees of the Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler (responsibility in science and development of science) and only two out of 42 members in the Club of Rome Germany are geoscientists. I regard these states as understaffed, because the consequences of the application of geological and geotechnical knowledge for nature and society described here as well as the clearly rising resource dependency of economy have gained essential meanings. In addition: the application of geoscientific expertise is positioned at the beginning of nearly all product- and value-chains. The amount of supply of mineral raw materials in 2015 came up to 316 GT. Therefore Prof. F. Schmidt-Bleek addressed the problem of the resource intensity of world economy, identified this dependency as its highly vulnerable spot, recommended - due to the exorbitantly high material footprint - a turnaround in the use of resources (dematerialisation) and stated that efficiency gains by factor 10 should be feasible.
At the latest since the human measure of work (maximun: 100 kWh/a) has been technically overcome by invention of the steam engine, machine supported impacts of human actions have in the meantime attained - due to further ongoing technological developments and rising consumption of mineral raw materials - such dimensions in size, intensity as well as broad,- depth- and long-term-effects that mentioned impacts concern not only locally and directly, but globally and the future. Therefore rising generations will have to clean the oceans from plastic particles and will have to construct, fill and monitor nuclear waste repositories, the origination of which they are not responsible for. Additionally they have to care for permanent supply of resources, means, energy and experts to maintain and repair the technosphere, which has in the meantime grown to an immense size. If the impacts of human actions will have caused transgressions of tipping points of the Earth system, the consequences will outlast into the far future. This would be unjust and ethically problematic, because descendants' degrees of freedom and quality of life would be impaired. It remained a declaration of intent to bequeath a better world.
Economic and mining geoscientists created the material preconditions for higher life expectancy, wealth and luxury in the western world, but also for potentials entailing impacts and side-effects, of which at least some have been identified as precarious and detrimental. Therefore the institution of the Internat. Assoc. for Promoting Geoethics in the year 2012 has been a rational decision. The organisation deals with philosophy and history of geoscience; research integrity and professionalism in geosciences; working climate issues and related aspects; geoethics in georisks and disaster risk reduction; responsible management of georesources; ethical and social aspects in geoeducation and communication of geosciences; geoethics applied to economic geology, palaeontology, forensic geology and medical geology; ethical and societal relevance of geoheritage and geodiversity; sociological aspects in geosciences and geosciences-society-policy interface; geosciences for sustainable and responsible development; geoethical implications in global and local changes of socio-ecological systems; ethics in geoengineering; ethical issues in climate change and ocean science studies; etc.. Teams study the topics responsibility in mining, geoethics in forensic geology as well as the conservation of geoheritages. It is irritating that Germany, a classic mining country, characterised by a mining history of more than 2800 a, is neither member in the national sections of mentioned society nor in those of the Int. Assoc. for Geoethics.
Therefore it is a constructive contribution by the Deutsche Geologische Gesellschaft - Geologische Vereinigung, when it linked the point responsibility with a paper of the Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe, which compares initiatives in responsible mining and demands transparent chains of supply and responsible measures of renaturation concerning tin mining in Indonesia. And it is written in the statutes of the Bundesverband Deutscher Geologen that the scope of this association is defined by rational use of geoscientific knowledge and work in responsibility for the general public. That organisation instituted teams dealing with environmental geology and georisks; additionally panels entitled resources and S4F and international cooperation and geoethics exist. The Deutsche Rohstoff Agentur listed among others the following topics: efficacy in use of resources, recycling of metals in smartphones, transparency and sustainability in supply chains of mineral raw materials.
Fact is: under the umbrella of geosciences exist disciplines, of which one part explains/interpretes the impacts of applied knowledge of the other part via analyses of comparable climate forcing events in Earth history. Under this circumstance a round table dialogue between representators of mining and economic geosciences and those of palaeoclimatology, -ecology, environmental geology and geoethics would carry on. But this has probably already occurred.
Examples - in short - detailing impacts of applications of geological and geotechnical knowledge, which can be studied, discussed and evaluated in the proposed discipline:
Substitution of physical work by living organisms: The consequences of neglection / dwarfing / marginalisation of the human measure of physical work (max. 100 kWh/a = 32.-) in the global economy. Replacement of physical work of humans and animals by machines: steam engine, gas firing motor, nuclear fission/fusion, green energies. The actual global turnover of energy for heat, electricity and mobility equals virtually on average ca. 220 slaves per person. Country related: USA: 790; BRD: 440. This state, which cannot be sustainable, is seen as highly risky and senseless. In industrialised countries the actual energy price per 1 kWh from fossil energy carriers is too low.
Mining damages: The consequences of mining for life and landscapes. Forced resettlements; human rights; biodiversity loss; health concerns; mining landscapes; mine subsidence areas; acid and poisonous mine drainage; eternal burdens (e. g. Ruhr area); contamination of ground water; rehabilitation of tailings (e. g. Wismut GmbH); induced seismicity; etc..
Ecological balances and pollutants: Material and energetic balancing of product cycles and its impacts on nature. Example: Extraction of accessorily occurring heavy minerals (e. g. containing U, Pt, REE; Au, diamond): a few grams dispersed in 1 T of host rock: maximum of material intensity. Possibilities to separate, to deposite/store safely, to utilise (as secondary resources; e. g. CO2: application in chemical syntheses to generate benign, reusable products) contaminants and wastes, which have originated during extraction and refinement of mineral commodities. Extraction techniques of phosphate.
Environmental damages caused by production, use and industrial disasters: Impairment of the spheres of Earth by a) extraction and refinement of mineral raw materials at industrial scale; b) resource consuming application of industrially manufactured products; c) dumping of wastes and outdated products. Proposed topics and their division see book: 250 years of industrial... or A. Goudie.... Techniques for zero emissions (B. Gates); cheap green techniques for poor countries. History of disasters in mining, industry and at dumping sites: damages in material, personal injuries and fatalities. Temporal correlation of some of these events with price levels for mineral raw materials?
Sources and sinks: Creation of many sources of commodities and pollutants, but only few safe sinks for wast and toxins. Possible reasons: Making profit, trade rivalry, ecological analphabetism, inconsiderateness and irresponsibility, underdeveloped interdisciplinarity, indifference. The consequences of this imbalance for environmental quality: Emissions of greenhouse gases, warming of the atmosphere and in consequence thinning of the ozone layer, because of the origination of catalytically active ClO in the stratosphere; sea water acidification and deoxygenation; eutrophication of surface waters, poisoning of the Earth's spheres; impairment of the cryosphere, sea level rise; ground water degradation and warming; cold condensation of toxic gaseous air constituents on land surfaces in high latitudes due to the global atmospheric distillation; immissions of poisonous aerosols.
Concentration/massification: On the way to massification. Deregulated economy. The tragic of the commons. Origination of risk societies: overpopulation, growing urbanisation and megacities, security of supply (electricity, heat, food, water, information), dependency from imports, decontrol of risky settling areas by authorities; smog, slums, noise, heat islands, low quality drinking water, spread of communicable diseases. Costs of protective constructions along populated coastal regions against sea level rise. Subsidised growth of world population. Infinite economic growth, wealth and luxury are in conflict with the limitations of resources and with the finite biosphere. Is there any positive aspect of massification? How can the risks be reduced? From where took mankind the right to intrude inconsiderately into nature and to delete/degrade/displace it?
Third world countries: How can participation of these billions of persons in medical and technological progress as well as in wellbeing be realised, without causing more environmental damage?
Industry: Economically unstable monocities (e. g. Asbestos, Canada), mining and mass production; consequences of division of labour, alienation, dissipation of responsibility, concentration and loss of aesthetics.
Utilisation of natural fossil graves: Mass combustion/utilisation of organic relics (e. g. coal, petroleum, natural gas, tar, etc.) of past life (fossil common graves) and resulting potential psychological-moral consequences for producers and consumers: latent feelings of guilt and shame because of industrial scale grave desecration and grave robbery; sacrilege, brutalisation: disrespect in other forms of life and of rest in death; diminution of the ego.
Waste deposits and brownfields: Reasons; history of waste. Types and development of technologies of dumping waste. Forced mining of deposits characterised by low grade ore. Material footprint and biocapacity. Consequences for environmental quality. Is zero waste realisable?
Costs and product prices in mining, industry and economy: Effects of price decay of commodities and of dumping of product prices. Consequences of externalisation of costs of impairments of nature and life caused by mining and industrial fabrication; problem of realistic estimation of these costs. Internalisation of all costs of the damages resulting from mining, production, application of products and services, and dumping. Pricing of wilderness areas.
Jobs impairing environment: Example: It must be avoided that an employee tolerates that his activities cause many 1000s T of tailings, which pollute the environment. Possibilities of transformations.
Restlessness of time: Paul Virilio's dromology. The giddy-paced time, which came along with industrialisation, is characterised by multitasking, quick electronic communication, concentration of work load, permanent availability, etc., is disconform with the paces of life of many individuals. Time to accomplish information and work, to come to a decision or to solve a problem is often too short, so that the risks concerning deficit, failure and quality are elevated because of overcharge. Health outcomes: nervosity, distress, neurasthenia, anxiety, depression, addiction, burnout, escapism, diminished quality of life. Anthropocene: The Great Acceleration. Possibilities to decelerate? Additionally the dead end road to rising complexity has been entered. Reasons therefore. Possibilities to reduce complexity of life.
Stimulation of interdisciplinarity and holistic thinking. Example: To recognise that one's own behaviour exerts impacts elsewhere. The limits to each kind of freedom in a overcrowded world.
The future of exploration and exploitation: Which sorts and quantities of mineral raw materials can be approved to be extracted so that the Paris Agreement to fix climate warming at 1.5°C until 2100 will be met? Minimising environmental impacts. Offshore and sea floor mining. Examples: Gashydrates; manganese nodules. Mining in space?
Epilogue: Albert Einstein signed a few days before his death (04.18.1955) the manifesto mentioned in the beginning to ban atomic weapons. The hands of the doomsday-clock were fixed in that year, in which three nuclear powers controlled 3257 atomic warheads and 20 of these weapons - also thermoneclear bombs - were tested, at 2.5 minutes to 0 o'clock. During his late days Einstein was not able to gain certainty, which direction that precarious situation would take. The threat - unstoppable by him - that mankind might destroy itself and the uncertainty, whether that will occur or not after his time, must have worried him a lot during his last days. So he could not die peacefully, although he made strong efforts for policy in peace and against injustice. He got involved into that problem, because he had investigated the physical basis for the relation between matter and energy and because he and Leon Szilard warned USA of an atomic bomb of Hitler's Germany; this entailed the Manhattan Project. But the following bombardment of the both Japanese cities and the excalating arms race between USA and UDSSR have occurred against his will; these actions are based on mass abuse of Einstein's finding E=mc² and the discovery of the research group Meitner/Hahn/Straßmann of the fissionability of the uranium nucleus. Werner Heisenberg expressed his view that ideas are not responsible for the ways, in which they were applied by humans.
And nowadays many senior scientists, who did their utmost in politics of peace and of a better environment, see themselves confronted with a similar problem like Einstein even them; with the difference that the present situation is more difficult and more complex: Because of the political conflicts - which could not be settled since 1945 - and of the resulting military arms race, which was enabled by supply of mineral raw materials and fabrication in military-industrial complexes, there exist - despite a few phases of deescalation - at present more warheads in significantly more effective technical design. Despite disarmament in 1986 (at that time the number of warheads amounted to 64099) there are actually ca. 4000 out of 13400 warheads in deployment. Since 1955 the number of nuclear powers has risen to nine. At present Russia introduced the Avangard-System, which carries via low flying rockets at multiple sonic speed - undestroyable for antimissile bases - the warheads into targets. The USA modernise actually their arsenal of atomic warheads by investigating 100 bn USD. Thus the risk of nuclear warfare could not be nullified due to lack of peaceableness. In addition other risks joined to this: the presence of the B-C weapons (diphosgene, agent orange, sarine, nowitschok, etc.); gain of function experiments are carried out continuously. New, grave and latent perils came into existence because of degradation of nature, loss of biodiversity, climate change, origination of unknown emergencies, supply shortage due to overpopulation, damages caused by extreme weather events, transgression of tipping points of the Earth system, epi- and pandemics, disruptive technologies. The maximum of improvement of quality of global health will be attained, when the burdens of diseases related to environmental crises will outweight the health gains by development in medical knowledge and technology. Thereto the precarious developments and states in both in each other existing and with each other interfering worlds - the Full World and the evacuated realm of shades - , which both must be characterised as chaotically and hardly controllably because of dramatic injusties, sharp contradictions, extreme disruptions, deeply rooting separations and drastic antagonisms. The ancient Greec pearl of wisdom stating that the whole thing is always more than its components is also valid in the case of exclusively negative facts.
Therefore an expert committee kept on 01.27.2021 the hands of the doomsday-clock in the positions adjusted on 01.23.2020; on that day the clock was advanced by 20 seconds to 100 seconds to 0 o'clock. Peril, caused by insufficient peaceableness, by a much too high number of individuals and their necessities, by the ongoing degradation of the natural fundamentals of life, and thereof resulting responsibilities, remained since that day invariantly more grave than ever before.
These threats and risks originated, because the human ethical-moral development did not keep pace with the technological-scientific progress; because the gap between evidence based knowledge and its applications widened; because the quantity of machine based work excalated and because an economic system, characterised by growth, making profit, wasting, seeking more comfort, luxury, exaggerated liberty, higher velocity, stronger dependencies, has been supplied thoughtlessly, irrespectively and irresponsibly with ever more and more mineral raw materials (Geology of mankind). To my opinion a tendency became visible that a considerable part of these commodities is exploited by the world economy and mass abused to fulfil dubious demands. It is time that geoscientists realise their grave and very own responsibility to better shelter these precious and valuable matters - mineral wealths - from abuse and thus also to protect humans and biosphere from further impairment.