Silvia Peppoloni opened and chaired the sessionThe stream of work on how to exercise work in the geosciences with high ethical standards is gradually strengthening. This year's contribution of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG) to the mammouth conference of the European Geological Union (EGU) in Vienna, from 8 to 13 April, was more substantial than last year's with twelve oral presentations and a large number of posters. For the first time, Mundus maris was given a slot among the oral presentations, following two years of contributing to the poster sessions.

This year's 12 oral presentation in a full morning session offered a wide range of perspectives. Running through all presentations was the concern for how to reconcile perceived or real choices between conflicting demands and the trade-offs required for sustainability.

While time for discussion is always limited during the session, the breaks, the poster session and social gatherings offered ample opportunity to continue the conversation, cross-fertilise and learn from one another.

Chaired by Silvia Peppoloni of IAPG and Nic Bilham of the Geological Society of London, the first batch of talks ranged from philosophical and historical contributions, reflections on how to mainstream geoethics in academia and examples of engagement between geosciences and corporate actors. 

Vince Cronin during his inspiring talkGretchen Goldman of the Union of Concerned Scientists reported on the importance of scrutinising corporate and public policies and action against the best available science and make the public aware of harmful or potentially harmful plans and action.

Vincent Cronin of Baylor University made detailed step by step suggestions for infusing ethics throughout a geoscience department, backed up with examples and supplementary materials on the website.

The second batch of talks had several with maritime topics starting with Eduardo Marone of the Center for Marine Studies of the Federal University of Paraná Curitibawho.

He evoked the ethical dimensions of ocean governance in the UN Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) framework.

Cornelia E Nauen of Mundus maris focused her presentation co-authored with Aliou Sall on theory and practice of critically engaged science. The talk takes cues from integrated water resources management and small-scale fisheries in Senegal.

Cornelia E Nauen presented a joint paper with Aliou Sall, both of Mundus maris (Photo M. Bohle=She cautioned against excessive focus on disciplinary expertise in global or high-level policies which can lead hierarchical burocracies, whether public or private, to operate in silos.

Further down to ground realities local actors are forced by circumstances to integrate many additional perspectives in planning, decision making and implementation. So, scale matters.

Another gradient to keep in mind is the intersection between informal and formal modes of governance and management.

The breakdown of the tacit alliance between formal fisheries management institutions and traditional social regulation of conflict in Senegal offered an illustration of how much more effective fisheries management had been before.

The final part of the presentation focused on what critically engaged science means and how it can be practiced.

Martin Bohle during his talk concluding the oral presentation sessionMundus maris is making preparations for more practice starting with the first implementation steps of the small-scale fisheries academy in Senegal this year. The slides can be seen here.

We look forward to new collaborations as a result of the lively debate ensuing after the talk.

Jan Boon gave one of his interesting examples of how dialogue processes diffused a conflictual situation and allowed acceptable compromises along sustainability dimensions.

These involved many elements of what Cornelia had showed in her talk from a different context.

Martin Bohle rounded up the session with his talk titled "Geoethical thinking and wicked socio-environmental systems" - another variation on the same concerns.

Text and pictures by CE Nauen unless indicated otherwise.