Geology for society in 2058: some down-to-earth perspectives

Published on 2020-03-05T10:26:05Z (GMT) by
Social development and rapid growth in the world’s population has followed a remarkable technological development the past hundred years. Revolutions in agriculture and industry, medical innovations and new production technologies, have led to an increased standard of living for a larger part of the Earth’s population. Megatrends for future developments are lining up and predictions for the next 40 years are numerous. Most ideas about our future societies imply new and innovative geo-scientific achievements. Towards 2058, we will have virtually surveyed and mapped every corner of the Earth. We will have detailed 3D images of the urbanized areas, and 4D models to assist to make reliable forecasts in a world of increased pressure on the natural resources and changing ecosystems. By 2058 the Green Stone Age is established, and we will use all elements in the periodic system and more rare minerals to support new materials and technological solutions. The major energy supplies will be CO2 free. The agriculture will be more efficient, distribution and consumption of food will be more rational, and we will harvest from more marine food chains than today. More than 70% of the people on Earth will live in megacities and urban areas. Our cities will become smarter and greener, cars and public transport will be self-driving and autonomous tools using artificial intelligence to automate functions previously performed by humans. Substantial resources will be used to repair damaged ecosystems, and most important, we will use materials and products that have fewer negative consequences for the environment. The 17UN goals for sustainable development are guidelines into the future, and geological surveys should serve as key instruments in the transformation into smarter and more sustainable societies. We are already on our way providing critical minerals for low carbon energy solutions, marine knowledge for blue growth, plans for green and smarter cities, and advanced digitalization for public services, as shown by examples in this present paper.

Cite this collection

Smelror, Morten (2020): Geology for society in 2058: some down-to-earth perspectives. Geological Society of London. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4882428.v1