Since mid 2020, within the International Geosciences Programme (IGCP) of UNESCO, we’ve been conducting a series of conversations with geoscience “thought leaders”, focused on some big, simple questions.

  • What role will geoscience have to play in delivering society’s goals in the next 30 years?
  • How does geoscience need to change to meet the challenges of the future?
  • How can we increase the profile and attractiveness of geoscience?

This is a project conducted under the unique terms set by the Covid pandemic. Multiple lockdowns meant that all the conversations were conducted remotely, usually from people’s homes, and often across several time zones.

This approach, which could so easily have been a weakness, turned out to be a strength. First, we were able to find time in the diaries of people who might normally have been too busy. What’s more, there was a sense that our guests had been stifled by the restrictions of lockdown and were therefore hungry for the stimulus of debate. And strangely, talking through a screen seemed to encourage informality and intimacy.

We found the resulting conversations fascinating, provocative, exhilarating, funny and surprising. See what you think…