|We alter the planet in big and small ways. |
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It was a fun article to put together because I had to reflect upon how I got to the present point in my career. Many of you know, that my background is in the field of geology. I am passionate about the field and I particularly love mineralogy and lithology. However, when I was in my early 20's I was doing some prospecting work for a mineral exploration company and I found that it was really difficult to do my job because so much of what we thought was natural was altered. Indeed, I found that there was evidence of alteration all around me. It was very difficult to get samples of the natural surface of the earth in order to determine what was deep underground.
My education in geology taught me what the world was like without people. I learned about geophysics, geochemistry, structural geology, field geology, mineralogy, lithology, and other subfields. However, in order to do my geological work, I had to deal with the fact that people greatly altered the surface of the planet. We were not taught this in any great detail and there was limited research at the time on human alteration of the planet. That made me rethink many major assumptions in the field of geology and set me on the path to where I am today. The field of geology has changed over the last 30 years and there is much more focus on environmental geology than there was in the past. However, the emerging field of sustainability allows one to study how best to preserve resources for the future while taking into consideration the economic, environmental, and cultural issues of today.