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Geology and Society Division

Division News Highlights

November 2012

Please download the current newsletter for comprehensive Division news.


El-AshryThe Geology and Society Division is pleased to host Dr. Mohammed T. El-Ashry for our 2012 distinguished lecture. Dr. El-Ashry’s talk, “Energy and Global Sustainability” will discuss how energy sustainability is key to sustainable development, and highlight actions needed to transition from our currently unsustainable path towards a cleaner and more secure energy future.

Dr. El-Ashry is Senior Fellow with the UN Foundation and Facilitator of the Global Leadership for Climate Action (GLCA) which he organized in 2007. Its membership includes 13 former Presidents and Prime-Ministers and 12 other global leaders.

Dr. El-Ashry served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which he helped to establish, from 1994 to 2003. He also served as Chairman of the GEF during its Pilot Phase (1991-1994). Prior to joining the GEF he served as Chief Environmental Adviser to the President and Director of the Environment Department at the World Bank, as Senior Vice President of the World Resources Institute (WRI), and as Director of Environmental Quality with the Tennessee Valley Authority. He has held teaching and research positions at Cairo University, Pan-American-U.A.R. Oil Company, Wilkes University and the Environmental Defense Fund. He has also served as Senior Environmental Adviser to UNDP, as Special Adviser to the Secretary General of the 1992 U.N. Earth Summit, and as a member of a number of International Commissions and Task Forces including the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on System-wide Coherence, the International Commission on Climate Change and Development, and the World Water Commission. He is also the Chairman of the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).

Dr. El-Ashry received his B.S. Degree with honors in 1959 from the University of Cairo and M.S. (1963) and Ph.D. (1966) degrees in Geology from the University of Illinois. He is the editor and co-author of three books and has published or presented more than 250 papers.

Dr. El-Ashry is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of the Third World and African Academies of Sciences and is listed in American Men and Women of Science and Men of Achievement. He has received a number of international honors and awards including the Champions of the Earth and the Haub Prize for International Environmental Diplomacy. He serves on the Boards of a number of not-for-profit organizations including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Resources for the Future.

September 2010

Please download the newsletter for comprehensive Division news.
1. Results of Division bylaws Change by Ballot of Division Members
When changes in the bylaws are necessary, Division officers propose Bylaw changes to the membership as a ballot measure, which then must be approved by GSA Council.
This summer, the Division officers presented changes to the bylaws to the membership for a majority vote. The bylaw change provides for filling the vacancy developed in an unexpired terms of officers on the Division management board. Read the text of the bylaw change. The new bylaw is Article #4, Item #4 which is shown in red font in the full text of the Division Bylaws. It will be considered for approval by the GSA Council when it meets at the 2010 GSA Annual Meeting.

2. Results of Geology and Society Division 2nd Vice Chair Election
Each year, the Division Nominating Committee (appointed from the non-officer Division membership by Division Officers) puts out a call to Division members for nominations and recommends at least two candidates to Division Officers.
This Year, the Nominating Committee included Tom Evans (Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey), Rex Buchanan, (Kansas Geological Survey), and Marilyn Suiter (National Science Foundation). The Nominating Committee presented two candidates from the Division Membership: R. Laurence Davis (University of New Haven) and Suzanne Pierson (University of Texas Austin).
The Division Membership Elected R. Laurence Davis 2nd Vice Chair.
Message from Larry Davis   (open/close)

For more of Larry Davis's message, download the September Newsletter (upper right corner of page).

I am Larry Davis (more formally, "R. Laurence Davis") the new 2nd Vice-Chair elect of the Geology and Society Division. Since many of you do not know me, I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and talk a bit about my hopes for the Division.

I am in my 20th year of service as Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and University Research Scholar at the University of New Haven. Prior to that I was Senior Hydrogeologist with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES). I have also held teaching positions at several other colleges. For my MS, I looked at nitrogen transport under tiled agricultural fields in East-Central Illinois and for my PhD, I looked at the effects of urbanization on very small watersheds and ground water near Rochester, NY. My current research involves water issues on San Salvador Island, Bahamas.

I have long had an interest in geology and public policy. Finally, I just completed 4 years on GSA's Committee on Geology and Public Policy. There, I was known for my outspoken advocacy of expanding our focus from just federal issues to ones at the state and local level where most of the environmental decisions (especially land use) are actively being made.

I come to the Division's Board with some specific goals in mind. The most important of these is to expand our activities beyond the annual and section meetings. I think that the Division ought to be interacting more with society in general, not just the Geological Society. Possibilities include a series of public presentations associated with annual or section meetings; a speakers bureau; or informal presentations by members to Sierra Club Chapters, Garden Clubs, at schools. Beyond that, I am anxious to see us focus our activities so that we can explain to potential division members (especially students) just what the division does and why it is important for them to join.

In conclusion, I am excited about bringing my perspectives (small school, local government, public outreach) to the Board and I am looking forward to my four-year commitment as a member. Thank you for electing me!

3. New Division Liaison with Geology & Public Policy Committee
Kathy Troost was elected to the GSA Geology and Public Policy Committee by GSA Council from candidates nominated by Geology and Society Division Officers.
Message from Kathy Troost   (open/close)

For More of Kathy Troost's Message, download the September newsletter (upper right corner of page)

I am honored to be serving as your liaison to the Geology and Public Policy Committee (GPPC) for the next three years. Over the past 31 years my interest in integrating geology with public policy and society has grown from an idle interest while working on a permafrost map in Fairbanks Alaska to a full-blown passion while developing methodology for geological hazard mapping. Here's a brief summary of my background.

After receiving a BA in geology from Indiana State University in 1979, I started my career in St. Louis Missouri with the geotechnical firm, Shannon & Wilson, Inc. Nineteen years and two more offices later, in Fairbanks and Seattle, I had reached a senior management position with the company. My projects ranged from hydroelectric dams on remote rivers in Alaska, to soil and groundwater contamination investigations at army bases and large sports stadiums in Washington, to characterizations of low level nuclear waste sites in several states.

While working in consulting, I conducted research on the side that lead to my MS in 1999 in Geology from the University of Washington (UW). Then, together with Dr. Derek Booth, I started a research center at the UW focusing on high-resolution urban geological mapping.

It was while running the Center for 12 years that I became so passionate about the importance of geology in our everyday lives and began leading efforts in many venues to help educate non-scientific agency employees. I worked with the State Geologists and testified at legislative hearings, participated in field trips for the legislators.

As your liaison to the GPPC, I feel I have two main roles. One is to serve as a liaison and provide open communication between the GPPC and the Geology and Society Division and I will be looking for opportunities for the groups to enhance each other's efforts. Secondly, I am looking forward to continuing my passion, educating the decision makers about the importance of geology in our lives. I look forward to learning more about both groups and serving as your liaison.

— Kathy Goetz Troost, L.G.

4. Division Officers
Know your Division Officers. Click here for names and contact info.