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Year of Risk

Themed years are at the heart of the Society’s science strategy, and 2017 in the 'Year of Risk' we explored the concept of risk in the context of the geosciences, through research conferences, lectures, our education programme and other activities.

As Earth’s population grows, the risks associated with a range of geohazards have intensified dramatically, particularly in the developing world. An increasing number of people are living in major earthquake zones and on the flanks of explosive volcanoes. Groundwater aquifers all over the world have been depleted or contaminated, endangering water supplies. The environmental risks associated with extracting resources and fossil fuels must be weighed against the needs of growing economies. These issues fall within the remit of the geoscientist, and are likely to affect future generations to an even greater degree than ours; do we have the tools and mechanisms to tackle them?

The geoscience community faces a challenge; how do we engage policy makers and translate our understanding of science and hazards into risk assessment that can be understood by a range of stakeholders? As well as exploring the nature and causes of geohazards, the Year of Risk provided an opportunity to share and debate emerging research into the science of risk, the public perception of risk and risk management. Events throughout the year involved scientists, policy-makers, social scientists, economists, insurers, the media and modellers.

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