CONTENTS Vol. 5 No. 4
p 2 - The rise of animals (Part I)
p 9 - Water education comes to China's schools
p 10 - Mission rallies support for DRC's mountain gorillas
p 10 - Oman's Oryx Sanctuary dropped from World heritage List
p 11- UNESCO joins UN response to Peruvian earthquake
p 12 - A master plan for science and technology in Mongolia
p 13 -Robert Hepworth on why many of the world's most endangered species are migratory
p 16 - The day Mount Manaro stirred
p 21 - Mini-laboratories for the Middle East
p 24 - Diary
p 24 - New releases
From the editorial by Walter Erdelen, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences:
Although tragedies like the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina graphically demonstrated how indispensable geoscientific knowledge can be in mitigating natural disasters, geological knowledge benefits all of society all of the time because everything we cannot grow - all the power and raw materials on which society depends - comes from the Earth and therefore has to be 'unearthed' by geologists. With fewer students opting for geoscience courses, Earth scientists fear we may beheading for a collapse of geological educational infrastructure worldwide. This could happen because, by the time rising prices encourage further exploration, historically low student recruitment may have already led to the closure and dispersal of university departments. Given the central importance of Earth sciences for our future, this prospect should worry everyone.
Over the next 18 months, the International Year of Planet Earth - initiated jointly by UNESCO and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) - will be urging political leaders to act.
The Year will be officially launched at UNESCO headquarters on 12-13 February.On its list of things to do: reducing vulnerability to natural and human-induced hazards; improving understanding of the medical aspects of Earth science; discovering new natural resources and making them available in a sustainable manner; getting under Earth's living skin: soil; building safer structures and expanding urban areas by utilizing natural subsurface conditions; determining the non-human factor in climatechange; detecting deep and poorly accessible groundwater; and removing some of the question marks surrounding the evolution of life.