Much has been speculated about why there is a continuing decline in graduating geologists and it’s true that this subject could become a fossilised specimen if we’re not careful. I believe that we can radically change that by simply shifting the perception.
If you were to ask a kid what they thought of geology, then you’d be greeted with a baffled look and a phrase such as “well, that’s rocks isn’t it?!” Geology, the biological, chemical and physical study of the Earth and its history, has become so old-fashioned that many of us don’t even know how to explain it. Honestly, I don’t know how it’s got to this stage but it’s definitely surprising. When you ask a child what they think of Earth Sciences however, their brain erupts with thoughts. Most kids and adults are fascinated by our planet, its wonders and powerful forces so wouldn’t it be a bright idea if we attracted these people into this scientific area? We need to be expressing how truly amazing it is to study Earth sciences and the incredible careers people can find themselves in. Because being a geologist means a hell of a lot more than observing rocks for a lifetime. For me, it’s a chance to explore the hidden secrets of our planet and experience wild adventures in fascinating environments.
In the past couple of decades less schools have featured geology on their syllabus and – sadly – they deem it to not be a core science. In public schools, the only blips of geology they get to grips with can be found in geography (more specifically physical geography but let’s be honest – who actually enjoys human geography anyway?). Unfortunately, it means that a lot of geologists are lost through the loophole when they decide to further geography, even when their interests lean more towards waterfalls or plate tectonics. Maybe we should be recruiting these earth scientists and separating them from the ‘Geo crowd’.
The key to inspiring the next generations to come is providing better media coverage of geology. Social media, films and documentaries have monumental impacts on teenagers lives. It’s also underrated as we see more and more individuals making a life for themselves from the internet. So if geologists refuse to exploit this market, then they’re missing a big piece of the puzzle. Even an Indiana Jones like character could spark the inspiration inside a potential geologist. It all comes down to the perception of the public.
Hopefully this concern is far, far less than a blip in the geological timescale…