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2009 Y.E.S. Congress – Beijing, China

Mary Seid, GSA Student Member and Y.E.S. Representative
Y.E.S. Congress 2009

The First World Young Earth-Scientists (Y.E.S.) Congress took place on 25–28 October 2009 in Beijing, China, at the China University of Geosciences in Beijing. The rich and diverse program of technical presentations relating earth-sciences to society included talks by young geoscientists from Austria, Australia, Italy, India, Tanzania, the USA, Argentina, the UK, China, Sri Lanka, Malawi, France, South Africa, Norway, Russia, the Netherlands, Mexico, and Brazil. Talks focused on many pressing issues, including groundwater, natural disasters, health, energy and sustainability, climate, mineral resources, megacities, deep earth, oceans, soils, biodiversity, digital earth engineering, GeoParks, and Geoheritage conservation.

Combined on-site and remote discussion roundtables were unique to this conference and covered such topics as women in the geoscience workforce, climate change, natural hazards, transfer of credentials and international licensure, natural resources and energy sustainability, issues facing geoscience education and research, and industry-academic linkages, with a final synthesis and strategy roundtable.

The synthesis and strategy roundtable session identified a number of key findings on which the Y.E.S. Network will actively work. This vast network of over 300 senior and junior scientists in geological surveys and industries from around the world will depend on cutting-edge science, communication and a strong vision to come up with strategies to address the issues identified by the Congress.

The 2009 Y.E.S. Congress is considered a launching pad for the future. In the years to come, the Y.E.S. Network will grow its membership and increase awareness of the issues connecting the geosciences and society through education, visibility at numerous international conferences, and outreach in the membership countries. The Y.E.S. Network will build on the support of many international organizations (UNESCO, IYPE, and the IUGS) as well as those in the United States, including The Geological Society of America and the American Institute of Professional Geologists.

The Congress was organized as a direct result of the International Year of Planet Earth (2007–2009) with the goal of contributing toward making societies safer, healthier, and more prosperous by using largely underutilized earth-science knowledge in decision making. The aim of the 2009 Y.E.S. Congress was to connect young earth-scientists from around the globe and to identify crucial issues on which the Y.E.S. Network will focus in the immediate future.

The Y.E.S. Network is a concept that was envisioned by a group of earth-scientists who realized the growing need to educate policy makers on earth-science issues that will significantly affect the younger generation. With climate change and a growing world population, political support of the geosciences is absolutely necessary.

Global economies and the geosciences are not mutually exclusive. The future belongs to the incoming generation of earth-scientists. Well informed politicians make better policies, and the Y.E.S. Network is committed to increasing teamwork, collaboration, outreach, and connecting the next generation of politicians with earth-scientists.

The next Y.E.S. Congress will be held in conjunction with the 34th International Geological Congress in Brisbane, Australia, in 2012.

YES delegates

Mary Seid (second from left) and other Y.E.S. delegates.