Dr. Alan Benimoff, Professor in the Department of Engineering and Environmental Science and member of the Faculty in the Master’s Program in Environmental Science, has been elected to serve on the Geological Society of America’s Management Board, Geology and Society Division. Dr. Benimoff was nominated and then elected by the body’s 350 members to serve as the organization’s Second Vice Chair. The position will transition on a yearly basis to First Vice-Chair and then to Chair and then to Past Chair.
“I am very honored to serve and I am very interested in where the science of geology intersects with the social, economic, and policy interests of modern society,“ said Dr. Benimoff.
According to its Website, the GSA’s “Geology and Society division was established in 2003, with the mission to advance the concept of “Geology Working for Society,” by providing GSA members with opportunities to bring together multiple fields of geoscience in order to address important societal issues.”
Dr. Benimoff has been working on this for decades. For example, after Superstorm Sandy in 2012, he and his colleagues presented and co-authored “How we communicated with local, state and federal agencies with respect to hurricane storm surge: the process” at the 2016 Denver GSA Annual Meeting. He also produces and co-hosts a Staten Island Community Television show entitled “Geology Forum” in which he informs the community of Geology and Society issues. Dr. Benimoff has also given presentations to the SICOAD (Staten Island Community Organizations Active in Disaster) on Geology and Society issues, and at the fifth anniversary of Sandy “Go to High Ground – Social, Political and Economic Aspects of Disaster Preparedness 5 Years after Superstorm Sandy.” He co-authored a High Ground Report for the New York State Office of Storm Recovery as well as an Elsevier Book Chapter “Superstorm Sandy and Staten Island: Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future.”
“I am looking forward to stimulating communication with other Earth scientists and establishing avenues for interdisciplinary research on the relationship of geology to societal interests and public policy,” he said.
The GSA Geology and Society division actively hosts interdisciplinary symposia at national and regional meetings, provides forums to help its members effectively communicate with decision-makers and the public, encourages student achievement in helping to inform public policy by sponsoring a Best Student Presentation Award at the national meeting, and honors professional achievement in enhancing public policy by presenting a Distinguished Lecture at the annual meeting.
Dr. Benimoff now joins Chair Lily Jackson of the University of Wyoming, First Vice-Chair Scott Harris of the College of Charleston, Secretary Treasurer Denise Hills of the Energy Investigations Program of the Geological Survey of Alabama, Past Chair James Heller of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and Student Representative Ria Sarkar of Rutgers University, as a board member, charged with increasing the geoscience community’s knowledge of how their disciplines combine to help address societal issues and by helping the community to more effectively communicate outside of their academic disciplines.
“An important issue is getting the word out to the general public on how the Earth works, sustainability, natural hazards, and disasters,” he explained. “We live in an era when the climate is changing and our purpose is to engage geoscientists in the social, economic, and policy interests of modern society. We bring together those scientists and practitioners of the geological sciences working on issues where geology and society interact; we provide a suitable forum for the presentation and discussion of mutual problems and ideas; we stimulate communication with other Earth scientists and establish avenues for interdisciplinary research on the relationship of geology to societal interests and public policy; we promote and encourage the publication of the results of such research and recognize the significant contributions and accomplishments in this area of activity and research.”
To find out more about the Geological Society of America and some of the initiatives it supports, visit its Website.