Teaching Geoethics Across the Geoscience Curriculum
We make decisions every day in our lives as earth scientists, many of which have ethical implications. In this activity, students apply their growing body of knowledge and skills to a real-world geoscience case, with the opportunity to make explicit the ethical aspects of the scientific work involved, as well as ethical aspects of working with individuals and the greater society, while also exploring their own values and ethics. Making explicit the ethical issues involved in turn leads to practicing ethical decision-making skills in the context of the problem addressed, through small group problem-solving and class discussion. The case presented is a pilot study on metals in urban soils, and takes the students through the thinking processes involved from project set up to end. The case specifically addresses ethical decision-making at the beginning of a pilot project (involving scientific, societal and personal ethical concerns), throughout the project (involving scientific and personal ethical concerns), and in the communication of the results to the public (involving scientific, societal and personal ethical concerns).